Chapel Down - Mark Harvey
"I’m immensely proud of what we’re achieving together."
How did you get started out in the industry?
Before joining Chapel Down and the world of English Wine, I worked at Moet Hennessy for 12 years marketing and selling a variety of spirits and wines including of course, Champagne. The opportunity to move into this dynamic, young industry with such huge potential was too tempting.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
A hackneyed response maybe but everyday is different! As Managing Director here at Chapel Down I am involved in all aspects of the business from production through to sales and I love the variety of the day-to-day. I have worked with some pretty cool brands in my career but I can genuinely say I’ve never felt more energised than I do today.
What is the most hands-on element of your job?
We’re a relatively small but growing company of 60 people currently and we have a shared ethos of mucking in and helping each other out as a team. At the numerous events we put on – Curious Arts Festival, The Boat Race, Ascot – we all take turns serving behind the bar as an example. We all tend to get stuck in.
What is your proudest achievement to date?
I’m immensely proud of what we’re achieving together as a young industry right now. A wine growing region is only born once and I feel we’re all privileged to be where we are right at this moment in time. The potential is enormous and the excitement is palpable.
Tell us something surprising about yourself.
I’m a Frenchman selling English Sparkling Wine!
If you could share a bottle of wine with anyone in the world, who would it be (and why)?
Is it wise to say anyone other than your wife?! Regardless – my wife Christina.
Describe your favourite wine and food pairing.
Jamon Iberico and Chapel Down Three Graces 2011. The cellarmaster at Dom Perignon, Richard Geoffroy, introduced me to this pairing originally with his vintage 1996 and it blew me away. These days I prefer Three Graces hands down!
What is your favourite place you’ve visited?
Fethiye, Turkey. A stunningly beautiful spot where I’ve spent two blissfully happy holidays with my family.
Describe yourself in three words.
Curious, relentless… French!
What do you think makes Kent unique compared to other wine regions?
Quite simply, Kent has the ideal growing conditions for making high quality sparkling wine with the optimal levels of warmth and rain. We’re excited by the quality of wines being produced in the county; the bar continues to be raised.
What is special/unique about your brand?
It will be challenging for me to keep this answer brief! To distil it down, I would say: Brand Love. I’m constantly amazed by the quantity of positive, heartfelt feedback we get from people that come in to contact with our business and brand. And that is all down to people. Our team. Across all aspects of the business, we share core values of being curious, relentless, fearless and humble. To be surrounded by people who are as energized as each other shines through in the products and experiences we deliver. I’ve worked on some truly amazing brands during my time at LVMH, but this palpable energy from the team has never shone through as strongly as now.
What distinguishes your vineyard from the others in the partnership?
Chapel Down is the leading player within English Wine so we operate now at a scale that differs from the others in the partnership. But a real strength of the collective lies in the variety of producers – both in personality and size. We’re all learning from each other and it is fun!
Tell us about your location in Kent.
Kit’s Coty is a unique and special place for us at Chapel Down. Situated on one of the oldest agrarian landscapes in Britain, Kit’s Coty is named after the monuments to the first settlers of Britain’s earliest farming society who recognised the fertility of the land in the third millennium BC. We acquired the land in 2007 and 95 acres are now planted of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Bacchus. From this we release a range of premium single vineyard wines of exceptional quality.
What do you envisage for the development of English wines within the international marketplace in the next 5 years?
The most significant export opportunity for English Sparkling Wines is the U.S.A. and great progress has been made by the leading producers over the last 18 months. Whilst relatively low volumes today, this should scale up significantly over the next five years.