Hambledon Vineyard is located in the heart of Hampshire and is said to be England’s oldest commercial vineyard having been established in 1952.
It comprises over 200 acres that are spread over a number of sites, with each one planted with the three grape varieties most commonly used in the production of sparkling wine. In 2018, the vineyard produced 300,000 bottles of English sparkling wine.
The vineyard has some ambitious expansion plans and this includes the construction of a new wine storage cellar and visitor centre.
“We want to be able to store up to two million bottles,” explains Hambledon Vineyard spokesperson Phillip Kellett. “While the visitor centre will help improve our wine tasting and tour facilities, which is another important part of our business.”
The two-storey steel-framed building has been dug into a chalk hillside and consists of a lower level cellar and an upper floor that will house the visitor facilities and further wine storage space at the rear of the structure.
According to the vineyard, partially burying the structure into the hill has two advantages, firstly the wine bottles will be housed in a cool, humid subterranean basement, which is ideal, and secondly the building will be unobtrusive by blending into the landscape.
The majority of the structure is steel-framed, chosen for a number of reasons, but primarily for its speed of construction.
The vineyard has a window when construction can take place so as not to interfere with the harvesting and bottling, which take place between October and December. Steelwork erection started in January and will complete later this month, which will allow plenty of time for the other works to complete before Autumn.
According to Phillip Kellett, other reasons for choosing a steel-framed solution were cost and the strength of steel. On the upper floor, the bottles and their stillages will be exerting up to 100t per m² of loading onto the supporting beams.
Working on behalf of Hambledon Vineyard, who are managing their own project, Builders Beams are fabricating, supplying and erecting 200t of the steel for the job.