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Nyetimber plans leap from boutique to brand

English sparkling wine producer Nyetimber hopes to go from ‘boutique to brand’ now that Stephen Clark, who spent over 20 years at Laurent Perrier, has joined the company to do the sales and marketing.

The new boy at the Sussex vineyard is certainly raring to go, promising that ‘Nyetimber will be said in the same breath’ as Laurent Perrier. That doesn’t mean that he thinks it has to compete with champagne. ‘I think an English label can have its own profile. We will become a serious brand in the sparkling wine sector of which champagne is a part,’ he told ThirtyFifty.

He believes now is a great time to join Nyetimber because of ‘the groundswell of interest in English wine’, and said, ‘I’m starting with Nyetimber where I started with Laurent Perrier 22 years ago: with a company that’s going places.

‘I discovered Laurent Perrier rosé in 1977 and loved it and sold it for 22 years. That’s exactly what I intend to do here at Nyetimber.’

Nyetimber, which is owned by Dutchman Eric Hereema, currently makes 70,000 bottles of sparkling wine a year from the Champagne grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. With the company’s six-year expansion plan, however, capacity will soar to 600,000 bottles. The demand is there – it’s currently still outstripping supply.

However, good English sparkling isn’t a cheap option wine – Nyetimber’s Classic Cuvee sells for £25 - especially if you compare it to the price of some ‘unknown’ Champagnes on the shop shelves. So what is the consumer getting for their money? Stephen says Nyetimber is trying to make ‘an exceptional wine that delivers at a quality level and we are building aspirational qualities into it as well.’

And he puts it this way: ‘If you open a really good bottle like Nyetimber, the party just gets better!’