Growing Giffords Hall Vineyard

An interview with founder, Linda Howard, on hitting business milestones and fundraising

Growing Giffords Hall Vineyard

18th April 2019

Giffords Hall Vineyard produce award-winning English wine from the picturesque Suffolk countryside. A family-run enterprise, they have received significant recognition for their rosé, red, white, and sparkling wines, and have big plans for further success.


They raised equity with Crowd2Fund three years ago, and have since gone from strength to strength. We spoke to Linda to find out how she's scaling her business.


What was your inspiration for starting your enterprise?


Grape growing and winemaking in the UK has changed dramatically over the last 50 years. We have always been interested in making wine and in agri-tourism, and were looking for a lifestyle business we could take into retirement.


What steps are you taking to grow your business to the next level?


As sales increased, we invested in more machinery and are currently in the process of developing our Dutch barn to provide expansion for our Barrel Hall and visitors center.


What are some of your proudest achievements so far?


I would have to say recognition from our awards and shortlisted positions in credited publications. Top is winning the Waitrose Supplier of the Year award. In addition to this, coming in second for English wine at the Good Food Awards, being featured in the top 10 English wines in the Independent, and top 16 English wines by Matthew Jukes in the Daily Mail. From a growth perspective, establishing the new vineyard with pioneering rootstock is also a highlight of mine.


What do you see in the future for your business and industry?


Last year, a total of 5.9m bottles of wine were produced in the UK, with sales increasing by 31% between 2015 and 2017, according to the Wine GB survey, which it said was “impressive” given the heavy frost damage in April 2017.


While many industries are preparing for the negative impact of Brexit, said Wine GB is relishing the opportunities that the UK’s exit from the European Union will afford their industry, partly because the majority of its exports are outside of the EU. Statistics released by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association last month said that nearly 4m of those bottles were sold in the UK on- and off-trade –  a 64% rise compared with the 2.36 million bottles released in 2016, according to figures from HMRC.


With our new facility and increased storage space, Giffords Hall Vineyard will have the capacity for a 100,000 bottle winery by 2021.


Why did you choose crowdfunding? How did it benefit your business?


We chose crowdfunding to ultimately reduce our risk by diversifying our source of working capital. We were also attracted to the marketing spin Crowd2Fund offers, such as the opportunity to be featured in editorial trade press. The added loyalty of the investor base helped establish viable value for the company.


 

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