BLACK Chalk – the English Sparkling Wine from Hampshire, which launched last year – has revealed significant plans for expansion.

It has secured investment from two new backers alongside additional investment from the current directors and an EU fund.

The capital will be used to create the first Black Chalk winery and tasting room as well as expand the team, with a number of positions being created.

The buildings will be leased on a long-term contract from Fullerton Estate, near Stockbridge, currently the home of fellow Hampshire producer, Cottonworth.

The winery will be created from a barn on the Fullerton Estate, which is next to an existing tasting room and shop, both of which will be extensively remodelled, and which will allow Black Chalk to tap into the winery tourism market.

The build is expected to commence in late 2019 with completion scheduled for the summer of 2020 in time for the first harvest.

The overall vision is to establish a creative space – a melting pot for new ideas and innovation – which will allow collaborations with individuals wanting to make wine but lacking the facilities and expertise.

Black Chalk winemaker and co-founder Jacob Leadley will welcome working with those who are keen to be hands-on and part of the creative process. Absolute flexibility and open mindedness will prevail, with various and experimental winemaking techniques possible, including the use of amphorae, foudre, new and old oak, as well as still wine production.

The Black Chalk team will also expand, with three full time positions to be created with start dates in 2019. These will include assistant winemaker and sales and events manager. Mr Leadley will remain winemaker and also take on the chief executive role; co-founder, Andrew Seden will become sales and events director; and Rebecca Leadley, Marilyn Seden and Bill Seden will continue as directors.

The investment, which amounts to just over £1.5million, comprises an agricultural grant from the EU LEADER Programme, via the Loddon and Test Local Action Group – one of the final ones to be approved before Brexit is due to take effect – and private investment from two individuals: Justin Bache, a Plumpton graduate; and Kenya Matsumoto, a private investor, who owns Mayfair-based Japanese restaurant, Cubé.

Mr Leadley said: “Having had a very successful first year, we are now able to fulfil our original ambitions for Black Chalk. 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.”

Andrew 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; Classic and Wild Rose. Both wines are small batch and made in the traditional method and are a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. Stylistically, purity of fruit is key, along with structure and a complex, balanced palate. The careful use of oak for a proportion of the wines and time on lees helps to develop this complexity.