Revolutionary designs for a "world-class winery" in Kent's rolling countryside have been unveiled by an award-winning architect behind some of the world's most striking skylines.
Vineyard Farms proposes to build a wine making and bottling facility, dubbed The Kentish Wine Vault, to the south of Upper Bush, in Cuxton.
Plans for the futuristic-looking site, which includes land around Luddesdown, Gravesend, have been put together by world-renowned architect Lord Norman Foster, of London's The Gherkin and Wembley Arch fame.
Designs encompass a state-of-the-art visitor centre, restaurant, coffee shop and presentation room.
The company behind the multi-million pound scheme plans to make between one to five million bottles of wine per year from the largely underground production facility.
It says its vision is to "kickstart a revolution" in wine making and produce a brand of English sparkling which is "accessible to everyone", while matching the high quality standards of its European rivals.
According to the wine merchants, it would deliver a multi-million pound investment in the economy and create hundreds of new jobs and training opportunities for local people, as well as bolster tourism in Medway.
It is envisaged these new roles would be created across the production, logistics and hospitality sectors, with some seasonal and indirect jobs.
Designs for the site have been masterminded by Lord Foster, who is renowned for his presentation of sleek modern looking buildings and airports.
He and his firm, the hotly sought after Foster + Partners, are responsible for many of the salient shapes dominating skylines around the world.
Regarded as one of the finest architects of his generation, Lord Foster rebuilt the Reichstag, the German Parliament in Berlin after reunification and masterminded tech giant Apple's circular groundscraper headquarters in California.
It's not the award-winning architect's first venture in Kent however.
His designs for an airport on the Hoo Peninsula, dubbed "Boris Island" following the then Mayor's backing were eventually scrapped and have since been permanently ruled out by the Prime Minister following local opposition.
Now the famous designer is casting his eagle eye towards Kent again with his futuristic vision for a "world-class" wine making facility.
Plans for the buildings have been designed to sit within and enhance the existing landscape and reflect the county's "unique character", the developer says.
A sustainable transport plan has also been put forward, with an electric bus taking visitors to and from the nearest stations.
The project aims to meet the highest environmental and sustainability standards and be operationally zero carbon.
This includes extensive new planting and habitat creation, as well as a green roof to support biodiversity.
It will also retain existing footpaths and create new walking routes to support local leisure uses.
Cuxton and Halling councillor Matt Fearn (Con), said the plans looked exciting, although he raised concerns around traffic on the A228, parking and the allocation of employment opportunities.
"My issue is around the traffic given it is a really difficult road at the moment," he said.
"It has been a battle to get traffic lights at the end of the road. How is that going to impact what we are doing?"
But the Medway councillor said the site offered good tourism and employment prospects and he hoped assurances could be offered to ensure a fair percentage are offered locally.
If approved, it is expected the site will take around two years to build.
Vineyard Farms is now launching a public consultation on the proposals ahead of submission of its formal planning application in the coming months.
The team will be holding two virtual consultation events on Wednesday June 23 and Thursday July 1 where residents and interested people can ask questions and give feedback.
Gary Smith, chief executive of Vineyard Farms, said: "The Kentish Wine Vault will kick-start a revolution in the English wine industry.
"Our vision is to produce a domestic sparkling wine which is accessible to all, whilst matching the high quality standards of European alternatives.
He added: "At the heart of this is a commitment to the highest environmental standards, innovative design and cutting-edge sustainability solutions.
"The wine making and bottling facility will be largely underground to minimise any visual impact on the surrounding area."
The company boss said they would work with the local community "every step of the way".
"We are committed to being a good neighbour and will work with the local community to ensure that the development is a positive addition to the area," he said.
"The public consultation will ensure people can view the plans, provide feedback and ask questions before we submit a planning applications."
Kent is experiencing something of a wine-making boom, with its fertile and chalky soil regarded as perfect for cultivating grapes.
The region’s wine industry accounts for more than 70% of the wine produced in the country and counts Japan as a major international client.
Meanwhile, plans for an multi-million pound expansion at the nearby Meopham Valley Vineyard are currently on hold while the applicant reviews parts of their proposals.
To find out more information on the Kentish Wine Vault in Cuxton and sign up for consultation events click here.