“In France we do not have a visitors’ facility because we realise that with the low population in southern France everyone’s cousin or uncle or grandfather has a plot of vines. There are vineyards as far as the eye can see so it’s not cool or interesting to be making wine in the South of France.
As far as the local population is concerned in the South of France you might get the odd tourist during the summer when it is a cloudy day and you can’t go to the beach, but there’s not the same demand for wine tourism in our area of France.
Here in Kent, however, we realised there was huge opportunity for tourism, as both the local residents and visitors from further afield are fascinated by the fact that the UK can now produce a very high quality product.
Therefore, a commercial fit out became a viable project for us. Our plan was to bring people in for tours and tastings ahead of actually selling them some wine at the end of 2018. Clearly that also means staffing it appropriately; we have people trained up to host tasting events so it’s a different area of the business that we can develop in conjunction with the actual wine production side.”