Case Study Overview
International award winners Mereworth produce a range of sparkling wines from grapes grown on their vineyard near Maidstone in Kent. They also also craft a contemporary mead and oak aged gin. The production aims were ...
- Expansion of tank capacity to include cooling capability
- Semi-automatic bottling & processing equipment
We supplied 27,000 litres of combined tank capacity via Speidel stainless steel tanks with cooling jackets and tank-controlled thermoregulators; in addition to semi-automatic bottling & processing equipment.
Mereworth Wines, near Maidstone in Kent, was established by William Boscawen.
William's family has been farming in the Maidstone area for over 250 years. In 2015, after a career in finance in marketing in London and Hong Kong, William returned to Kent to take on the family farm. Realising that the farm the perfect terroir for English sparkling wine, William set about turning his passion for winemaking into a vocation by planting vines in 2016. The following year, he converted the old oast house at Brewer's Hall, Mereworth, into a winery, restoring its legacy of preparing locally grown ingredients for some of the finest drinks in England.
In 2018 and in time for the first commercial harvest, William was joined by Scott Gebbie, Winemaker and MSc graduate in Viticulture & Oenology. For years Scott perfected his craft in wine regions all over the world, including Tuscany, California, Champagne and Marlborough before returning to his home county and complementing the team at Mereworth.
Mereworth have already achieved their aim of 'continuing to raise the bar set by English wines on the worldwide stage'. White from Black, their first ever vintage (a medium-dry and elegant sparkling wine made from Pinot grapes), won silver in the International wine Challenge 2021, silver in the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships 2020, and silver in the 2020 WineGB awards.
William's vision doesn't just extend to wine, as Mereworth's portfolio demonstrates. Realising the resurgence of craft meads in America, and the potential of the 70 beehives on the family farm, he set himself a challenge to rejuvenate the profile of what is thought to be the world's oldest alcoholic drink. William and Scott incorporate 21st century winemaking practices, steeping a fantastic range of fruits, herbs and botanics in their own honey wine, to create MAROURDE: The Original Aperitif - 'the perfect harmony of bitter and sweet, with a lingering zesty orange finish.' MAROURDE's most popular serve is topped with tonic water as a Spritz drink, but it also makes a delicious Negroni. Mereworth also produces gin, winning silver in The Gin Masters 2021 for their Oak Aged Gin.
Mereworth has continued to develop and expand at a healthy pace despite the challenges of the pandemic. In 2021 they launched a taproom on site, as a venue for fine dining events and where visitors can enjoy their 'newly released sparkling wines in the very room where they were made, sitting amongst the tanks [mentioned below], and under the watchful gaze of our press'.
In 2021 the winery was officially accredited as 'sustainable' with all the energy used coming from renewable sources.
Having bought an 8 head syphon filler, 4 head in-bottle carbonator, cartridge filters, a champagne foil applicator, and 240 litre Speidel fixed capacity tanks from us, William approached us with an initial requirement of 5,000 litres of tank capacity, to incorporate temperature control.
In 2018 we were pleased to supply variable capacity Speidel tanks with a combined capacity of 5,700 litres and supplied and installed a Quantor (Kreyer) Chilly MAX chiller unit.
Between 2018 to date we have supplied Mereworth with Speidel fixed capacity tanks with a combined capacity of 27,000 litres, complete with heat exchange jackets and tank-controlled thermoregulators, and ancillary equipment (Shneider pump, etc.).
We asked Scott & William the following questions...
What is it about Speidel tanks that made you choose them initially, and decide year on year to kit out your entire winery with them?
'We would absolutely associate Speidel tanks with quality, which was what drew us to them initially. As winemakers looking to make world-beating wines, it makes sense to have the best quality equipment around us. The versatility of offering from Speidel is vast, but also specific to our needs and the technical requirements of winemaking.'
What do you think of the service and support Vigo have given you?
'Vigo's service and support is outstanding and invaluable to us as winemakers. Their in depth knowledge of all areas of the winemaking process is an essential aid to the work we do. Vigo have always gone out of their way to provide fantastic customer care after-purchase and it is this ongoing customer care, alongside the quality of workmanship, that means we would not look elsewhere.'
How does it feel to be continuing the family tradition of land stewardship, and restoring the legacy of locally grown produce for drink production at the oast at Brewers Hall?
'Over the years, William has been completely immersed in all elements of the journey with a thoroughly hands-on approach to vineyard management and winemaking. For centuries, the land on his estate and surrounding his vineyards has had an illustrious history growing ingredients for the drinks trade. As a source of continual inspiration for William, he has developed a unique understanding of these fields and strives to bring the best out of them, always looking to promote rural business here in Kent.'
The pandemic has presented huge challenges for many of our customers, both positive and negative. How has it been for you at Mereworth Wines?
'Our first vintage of wines were ready to release in April 2020, just as the pandemic hit, so in a way we have no previous point of comparison. At that point, with no bars or pubs to approach, we threw open our cellar door and started selling our wine to the local audience. In a way, it was nice to bring a face to the brand, with people coming directly to the winery and feeling very much a part of what we were starting here. This beginning has very much focussed our thinking that we want to bring people here to the winery, provide an experience for them and allow them to feel a part of our journey from the very beginning.'
If you could describe your brand in 5 words, what words would you choose?
'Passionate, Pioneering, Premium, Aspirational, Approachable'
What's the next exciting project on your horizon? Feel free to give us a clue if you can't divulge all!
'At the moment are focussed on our winery here at Brewers Hall, working on expanding our hospitality options and bringing people here to see what we do best. Our winery tour and tastings are already really popular, and our intimate dining pop-up evenings with local chefs. We have also recently added in some more casual dining options on weekends with wood-fired pizzas and fish menus - the perfect way to while away a long Summer's day into evening.'