Published: 15:28, 12 June 2018
| Updated: 15:44, 12 June 2018
One of the county's top winemakers is set to unveil its new winery later this summer.
The Hush Heath Estate in Staplehurst will open the state-of-the-art building in August.
In addition to increasing its wine production over the next five years from 150,000 bottles to 500,000, the development includes a new shop, a 200-seater tasting room and an upstairs terrace bar.
It hopes the move will allow visitor numbers to grow from 20,000 to 50,000 per year.
Additionally, within the next 12 months, Hush Heath will increase its planted vineyards to 130 acres, comprising predominantly of the three sparkling wine grape varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
Producer Richard Balfour-Lynn said: “At Hush Heath Estate we want to make people smile, and our new winery facilities really take wine tourism to the next level – they are comparable with the best of Napa Valley’s experiences.
"After a year in the making, the team is confident that the new winery will have been worth the wait. As a premium brand we are opening our doors to welcome more people wanting to enjoy wine entertainment, and we plan to produce many more bottles, whilst at all times retaining the philosophy of a boutique producer.
“Our challenge as an industry is to maintain the quality of English wine, the global enthusiasm for which has been astonishing, and we are only at the beginning of the English wine story – rather like the Champagne houses in 1900."
To mark the winery's launch, an open weekend will take place on September 22 and 23.
Since the first vines were planted at Hush Heath in 2002, the estate has significantly grown its offering and now produces a selection of wines and ciders made from fruit grown in 400 acres of vineyards and apple orchards.
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