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A sparkling idea for an EIS

Braemar Securities is promoting an enterprise investment scheme to raise up to £4m for a Hampshire vineyard to produce Champagne-style sparkling wine.

Hambledon Vineyard is an old commercial vineyard that housesChardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines, which are used to make champagne in France. The vineyard is situated on chalk hills, which Hambledon managing director Ian Kellet sees as an ideal environment to produce an English sparkling wine that is similar to champagne.

The proceeds from this EIS will be used to repay around £200,000 of loans that Hambledon obtained last year to provide working capital. The remainder will go towards reconstruction work on the winery and restoration of the cellar; increase the area that is used to grow grapes and provide working capital to finance the production and fermentation of wine.

Investment through this EIS will enable the vineyard to produce 250,000 bottles of sparkling wine a year, increasing to 300,000 bottles once the winery is completed. The Company intends to produce the first wine using its 2010 crop and sell it from 2012.

Hambledon is known as the cradle of cricket because the laws of  the game were formalised there in 1770. Hambledon Vineyeard’s directors intend to use this association by introducing the wine at selected sporting values, restaurants and specialist shops. The region’s historical links to the wine industry and Hambledon’s employment of Champagne-making expert Herve Jestin as a consultant will also be helped to launch the new wine.

This EIS differs from other types of wine investment by investing in an English vineyard rather than trading and managing portfolios of fine wine. Some high-net-worth investors may see this EIS as a way to combine a passion for wine with EIS tax advantages.

The potential risk of investing in a single vineyard at an early stage of development is high. There is no guarantee of success, which depends on factors such as the completion of the work on the winery and cellar, and the launch of the new wine going as planned.

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