Sparkling wine producer Ancre Hill Estates in Monmouth, Wales is turning its sights on breaking into the Chinese market. A concerted effort by owners Richard and Joy Morris could see Chinese drinkers enjoying Welsh sparkling wine as soon as next year.
Morris says: “The Chinese market is a very interesting market for wine at the moment. We have a contact in Shanghai who runs an import and export company. He has tasted our wine and considers there is a good market for Welsh sparkling wine in China. It is a very competitive market but then which market isn’t now?”
In 2012, Ancre Hill Estates will exhibit at the Shanghai International Wine & Beverages Trade Fair.
Morris says: “We will be taking samples of our production to Shanghai to attract buyers and create interest in our wines.”
He has also been considering expansion into India but considers the potential demand from Chinese consumers and the religious and business issues regarding alcohol in India means that targeting China makes a better business case.
The Ancre Hill Estates vineyard was planted in April, 2006. Its first vintage was in 2008 and the 2010 which will be used to generate interest in China will be the third vintage, says Morris.
The 2010 vintage is likely to reach 18,000 bottles while the 2012 vintage could reach 30,000 bottles.
As well as planned expansion into China, Morris is planning to construct a winery for the vineyard. At present, the vineyard uses Three Choirs Vineyard at Newent, Gloucestershire to produce its wine.
The Wye Valley vineyard has won Gold and Bronze Awards at the Wales the True Taste in the Wine, Spirits & Other Alcohol category in 2010.
The vineyard comprises two sites surrounding the Morris’s home on the outskirts of Monmouth. Their Folly View site of six acres is principally planted with Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc, but also has some Pinot Noir and Triomphe while the newer Town site of three acres is totally dedicated to Pinot Noir.
Morris says: “We have the possibility of expanding by a further 15 acres if necessary, which could take production to around 60,000 bottles.”
In a first for the UK, Morris also said that he planned a planting of Albariño for his new plantings this year.