Simpsons Sparkling Welcome

Over 40 members attended the final networking event of the year at Simpsons’ Wine Estate in Barham, near Canterbury. Nestled in the Kent countryside, the stunning Glass House tasting room hosted a lively gathering of Produced in Kent members and guests. They enjoyed the chance to taste wines from Domaine de Sainte Rose, the Simpsons’ award-winning southern French vineyard, whilst enjoying canapés from Chantilly’s Catering.

Jill then spoke about the year that 2018 has been so far and its many successes. From business expansions and anniversaries, to product launches and the many 100’s of awards won by our members.

We looked at the major events attended, jobs created and innovations across the membership. Jill congratulated all the members on their hard work, passion and achievements in 2018.

Produced in Kent has been busy too!
- Taste of Kent Awards 2018 - saw almost 500 businesses nominated or entered for an award and 300 people attended the awards ceremony in March. Voting for the 2019 awards is well underway.
- The first Kent Food & Drink Conference in April was a great success and will be repeated on the 1st May 2019.
- We have advertised over 125 full and part time jobs since January.
- Attended a MTB event with Morrisons where 21 of the 25 businesses were PinK members.
- Helped members secure thousands of pounds of funding via the LEADER programme.
- Hosted showcase areas at The Kent Show and the Canterbury Food & Drink Festival.
- Launched a dedicated members website
- Issued the 9thth Edition of Kent’s Finest, 4 newsletters and 11 e-bulletins packed full of member news.
- Organised the Kent Young Chef of the Year 2018, looking for future hospitality talent.
- Launched the Kent Food Trails website and created 4 of the 6 bite-sized guides.

Danielle from Chantilly’s – A previous winner of the Taste of Kent Young Entrepreneur Award, spoke about the development of their family business, which includes a bakery and catering business. There are plans to expand next year with their first retail site in Dover.

Ashleigh from Simpsons’ Wine Estate then took everyone on a tour of the winery, explaining the how this state-of-the-art facility, which was built in 2016, is being expanded to accommodate this year’s bumper harvest. Returning to the tasting room we were delighted to be among the first to taste the very first sparkling wine from the Estate, their Canterbury Rose 2016, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed.

Simpsons’ Wine Estate is part of The Wine Garden of England, which comprises seven Kentish Wineries working together to champion and develop the county's wine tourism.

There was plenty of time for networking and catching up with members old and new before the end of the event, where those brave enough left via the Fruit Chute, a helter skelter slide!

We look forward to many more events in 2019.