Sparkling Giant Henkell Freixenet Enters English Sparkling Wine Production

The UK's Bolney Wine Estate has been bought by Henkell Freixenet.

© Photo provided


The UK's Bolney Wine Estate has been bought by Henkell Freixenet.

© Photo provided

Founded in 1972 by Janet and Rodney Pratt, Bolney Wine Estate is considered to be one of the UK winemaking pioneers and has five Sussex vineyard sites.

"When we first saw Bolney Wine Estate, we were sure we had found the perfect winery," said Robin Copestick, the managing director of Freixenet Copestick, the UK and Ireland arm of Henkell Freixenet. "Together we aim to realise the opportunities of English sparkling wine and continue to grow Bolney Wine Estate's position."

The Pratt's daughter Sam Linter who is currently running the business will work closely with the Henkell Freixenet and Freixenet Copestick teams as managing director, he said.

A new chapter

Award-winning Bolney Wine makes premium red, white, rosé and sparkling English wines, producing around 250,000 bottles a year. It is currently focusing on six key grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Rondo, Dornfelder, Chardonnay, Bacchus and Pinot Gris.

"This is a new chapter for Bolney Wine Estate. Over the past 50 years my family and I have worked hard to bring Bolney to where it is today," Sam Linter said. "I am now very much looking forward to working with Freixenet Copestick and helping to develop Bolney within the group nationally and internationally."

The Henkell Freixenet group markets sparkling wine specialities from Sekt to Cava and Champagne under brands such as Freixenet, Henkell, Mionetto Prosecco, Fürst von Metternich and Segura Viudas, selling in more than in 150 countries around the world.

bolney-summer vineyard

One of Bolney's vineyards in Sussex.

Photo provided

Exponential sparkling growth

UK sparkling wine has experienced "exponential growth" in the last few years, helped by a warming climate and the marketing around the chalk soils in the south of England being similar to those in Champagne.

Chapel Down, Gusbourne, Nyetimber, Ridgeview are some of the largest and most prominent producers. Champagne producers have been eyeing expansion in the south of England, with Taittinger becoming the first Grande Marque Champagne House to plant vines in the UK in 2017, at its Domaine Evremond vineyard in Kent. 

The CEO of Henkell Freixenet, Dr Andreas Brokemper, said the company is delighted to add a still young, prestigious sparkling wine speciality to its "Pearls of Europe" portfolio. "We are convinced that as the global market leader in the sparkling wine market, we can further strengthen the image of English sparkling nationally and internationally."