Black Chalk unveils expansion plans after securing £1.5 million investment
Hampshire grower Black Chalk has unveiled plans to build a winery and tasting room after securing £1.5 million in a private fundraising round.
It is due to yield its first harvest next year and the firm is confident it can complete construction of the new winery in time.
Plumpton graduate Justin Bache and Kenya Matsumoto, who owns Mayfair-based Japanese restaurant Cubé, provided the capital injection.
Further funding has come from current directors and an EU fund, which is one of the final project approved before Brexit, and Black Chalk now plans to hire three new full-time staff.
Co-founder Jacob Leadley is the winemaker and he will take on an assistant winemaker, while a new sales manager will target the trade.
Leadley is taking on the chief executive role, while co-founder Andrew Seden will become sales and events director.
“Having had a very successful first year, we are now able to fulfil our original ambitions for Black Chalk,” said Leadley. “Until now one of the missing links has been the lack of our own facilities, which will enable us to grow to satisfy demand, although we will remain a boutique operation.
“Having Justin and Kenya on board is fantastic; we feel they are the ideal partners for this project, bringing with them both knowledge of the wine industry and the London on-trade scene, as well as a real passion for English wine. When we sat down and I explained the vision they got it immediately, and we very much look forward to working with them for what should be an exciting future.
“The opportunity to collaborate on additional wine brands will be incredibly satisfying and also allow Black Chalk to be at the heart of what is now one of the paciest and most exciting wine industries in the world.”
Seden added: “We are very excited about the potential the site has for attracting visitors in a beautiful part of Hampshire. We have plans to make Black Chalk a real destination and hope to be ready to receive visitors before Christmas.”
Black Chalk launched in 2018 and currently produces two vintage wines, labelled Classic and Wild Rose. Black Chalk is distributed by Graft, the new UK agent formed from the merger of Red Squirrel – which has worked with Black Chalk since its launch – and Knotted Vine.