A LEADING Cheshire entrepreneur is seeking yet more sparkling success with his latest business venture.
Carden Park Hotel owner Steve Morgan has joined the wine producing business and is ready to pick the first grapes from his crop grown in the grounds of the luxury hotel and spa.
The Carden-based millionaire is calling his wine label ‘Carden Old Gold’ in tribute to his recently acquired football club Wolverhampton Wanderers, who play in ‘old gold’ shirts.
Carden Park is now on the verge of producing its first home-grown wine since the early 1990s, after a year spent replanting, trellising and pruning the vines.
Morgan is promising that his sparkling white will be a value-for-money substitute for non-vintage champagne and he also has plans within two years to create a rosé version.
He said: “It is designed to be a damn good value champagne substitute. It will be cheaper than champagne but we will be doing some blind tasting and we are confident it will stand up pretty well against some non-vintage champagnes.
“If someone wanted it for a wedding, they could use Carden Old Gold and nobody would taste the difference but it would be better for their pocket.”
Despite the poor weather this summer, Morgan believes his vineyard will produce enough bottles of wine to sell at his hotel, at Wolves and at a number of selected local outlets.
It is hoped that the first bottles will be ready for sale at some point during next year.
He said: “We should have a reasonable crop as the warm September has certainly helped them.
“It’s not really a wine for general public consumption but we are hopeful depending on how many bottles we get that we can get it into some local outlets as we source all our food locally.
“I am enjoying getting involved with the wine as it is a little bit different and if you can combine a business interest with a hobby then it is fabulous.”
Morgan, as founder of home builders Redrow, is one of rural Cheshire’s main business figures and he is keen to help boost the rural economy while seeing prosperity at one of the country’s highest rated hotels continue.
He said: “In the last two years we have put between £5-6m back into the hotel so it’s in tip-top form now. Carden Park is the closest to my heart.
“Carden is a huge part of Cheshire. We employ about 350 people here with the vast majority being local.
“The other way that we support the local rural economy is that we try to buy all our meat and vegetables from local sources. The closer to Carden the better.
“Hopefully we will partner our suppliers so that in their farm outlets they can sell some Carden Old Gold and some Carden Rosé.”