A top-end English vineyard and winery in the heart of Sussex – which comes with moreish Jacobean farmhouse – has been sold, 16 months after hitting the market.
The 152-acre Kingscote Wine Estate in West Sussex had an asking price of £4.5m when it came to market last January (just weeks after French champagne house Taittinger bought a Kent orchard with plans to create an English vineyard), but that was revised down to a £3.25m guide – and the property has now been marked as sold by selling agents Savills.
Spreading across the Kingscote Valley, between the Bluebell Railway and Wierwood Reservoir, vines were planted on the farm’s southern slopes in 2010, 2011 and 2013 by advertising maven Christian Monge (half of the duo that came up with “Guinness: Pure Genius”, who was described as “Steve McQueen cool” by colleagues at ad agency Ogilvy & Mather). The estate started producing decent – award-winning – booze (including Champagne-method “cyder”) in 2014, and has a target capacity of 100,000 bottles per year.
At the heart of the estate sits an idyllic five-bedroom 14th-century farmhouse, plus there’s a 15th century converted barn visitor centre, holiday cottage, shop, two fishing lakes, and equestrian facilities.
It sounds as though Savills took a lot of calls about the estate; the firm reports that such interest was generated that it has now established a dedicated viticulture team to service the burgeoning English wine estate sector. The team “can offer a comprehensive and bespoke ‘one-stop-shop’ advisory service” for would-be and established wine-makers “which draws upon the long established range of expertise across the Savills network.”
Chris Spofforth, head of Savills farm agency in the south east: “We received a huge amount of interest in The Kingscote Wine Estate, from a broad range of buyers, including newcomers to viticulture and established growers, from the UK and abroad, as well as investors.
“We are seeing an increasing interest in land suitable for viticulture in the south east and are registering new entrants to this sector, whether they are well informed novices or existing landowners looking to extend the diversity of their holdings. Several existing producers are also actively expanding their growing areas.
“There is not only local interest, but from Europe and beyond, as the English wine industry really starts to find some traction and is producing some extremely good quality product.”