Denbies began construction work in September at its estate in Dorking, Surrey, which will see the transformation of its Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast into the UK’s first vineyard hotel in spring 2019. HSBC UK has provided a funding package totalling £1.7 million, which includes finance for the build of the 17-ensuite bedroom hotel, which will be located in the middle of the Denbies’ vineyard and offer a new bar and Orangery Restaurant championing locally sourced produce.
Denbies has also committed to establishing best practice in green-tourism. The hotel will adopt some of the best measures to achieve carbon neutral status and reduce the impact on the environment, whilst blending the hotel building into the natural surroundings of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the North Downs.
A major part of Denbies’ investment will go into a complete modernisation and expansion of the winery in 2019. “In addition to introducing the UK’s first vineyard hotel, we will be quadrupling our sparkling wine production capacity by the end of 2019,” commented Christopher White, Denbies CEO. “Moreover, our sustained programme of new plantings, as well as planned winery investments, will enable us to expand while continuing to drive the quality of our sparkling wines. We will also make sure that we support growing demand for our full range of still wines, from entry level up to the premium ranges.”
Throughout 2017 and 2018, extensive plantings of sparkling wine varieties have taken place to meet the ever increasing demand. In addition, six new varietals, never before grown in the UK, have been planted over four acres as part of a programme to expand the existing range of still premium wines.
Nick Hicks, area director for HSBC UK in Sussex and Surrey, said: “This is a hugely exciting investment that will see Denbies Wine Estate transform into a truly unique attraction and retreat that perfectly complements its beautiful surroundings. The funding package provided by HSBC is enabling Denbies to incorporate environmentally-friendly solutions, ensuring the UK’s first Vineyard Hotel will operate sustainably and ethically. With an ever-growing demand for quality English wines, this major investment couldn’t be more timely and will underpin the company’s ambitious growth plans over the coming years.”
The Vineyard Hotel will have subtle references to its’ prime location in the heart of the Surrey Hills wine country. Guests will be able to taste the complete range of Denbies wines from the Enomatic wine dispensing machine, linked to the room key cards. Warm natural bark walls will line the reception entrance, opening into the wrought iron vine gates leading through into the stunning Orangery with far reaching views over the vineyard. Bespoke barrel crafted furniture will contribute to the origins of the working winery. The vineyard offers seven miles of public footpath which includes part of the North Downs Trail, Box Hill, which is located opposite the hotel, making this a perfect destination for those seeking a tranquil stay.
The open landscape garden will feature two cabana-style seating areas where guests will be able to enjoy local cheeses and charcuterie accompanied by the wine made and produced on the estate.
Denbies COO Jeannette Simpson said: “We have a wonderful site here at Denbies which attracts around 350,000 visitors each year. We have been at the forefront of wine tourism in England since the estate opened and our new hotel, due to open in spring 2019, will be a great addition to our existing hospitality offering. The reputation of English wine continues to grow, and wine tourism is an integral part of communicating this message loud and clear. We look forward to offering a world-class vineyard and winery experience here in the heart of the Surrey Hills.”