Denbies Vineyard Hotel
England’s first carbon neutral vineyard hotel has just opened at Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey, England’s largest vineyard.
Boasting a prominent view over the vines, the new luxury hotel offers 17 en-suite rooms as well as the new Vineyard Restaurant, a bar area for guests, all-weather outdoor dining facilities and landscape gardens.
Main contractor for the project was JC Buchanan.
Denbies is committed to establishing the best practice in green-tourism and the team has worked closely with architect, Tony Oke, who designed Denbies Winery in the early nineties, to adopt the best measures to achieve a carbon neutral status.
This will reduce the hotel’s environmental impact and promote Denbies Wine Estate as the North Downs and Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’s (AONB) leading eco-friendly tourist destination.
Many measures have been taken to ensure the hotel achieves as close to full carbon neutral status – zero carbon footprint – as possible.
The building was constructed with high level thermal installation and fitted out with low energy lighting, creating maximum energy efficiency with minimum heat loss. Solar panels have been installed to generate power that will feed into three 5kw Tesla batteries, which in turn will distribute said power throughout the hotel managed by an intelligent control system.
Any excess energy will be fed back into the grid and re-used, reducing the overall power usage for the estate.
Outside, electric car charging points and cycle parking facilities have been installed to encourage visitors to use sustainable transport methods.
Denbies Vineyard Hotel has been designed to blend into the natural surroundings of the North Downs and fit the specific Surrey Hills AONB criteria in terms of aesthetics and functionality. A key objective was for the building to fit-in with the ethos of Denbies and exist in harmony with Denbies’ Visitor Centre. The wine estate holds a Green Tourism Gold status and was awarded Green Business of the Year Award in 2016, showcasing their commitment being as green as possible.
Architect Tony Oke comments: “The hotel sits between a two storey white rendered farm house building and a very large barn clad in brown timber, so we set about designing an exterior which aesthetically ‘bridged the gap’ between these styles. The materials palette therefore includes cladding, brickwork, and slate roofing.
“This recent building process has been very different from the original Denbies Wine Estate design, as the technology to design and produce a carbon neutral building was nowhere near as advanced 30 years ago. As technology has advanced, so the commitment to sustainable practice has evolved.
“The greatest challenge of the project was undoubtedly the planning process which was difficult due to the hotel’s location within an area of outstanding natural beauty.”
Denbies Vineyard Hotel has been designed with long-term environmental benefits in mind. In a time where climate friendly solutions are in the greatest demand, Denbies Wine Estate continues to pave the way for sustainable green tourism.
It aspires to be the first fully carbon neutral vineyard hotel in England and in today’s current climate surrounding the environment will be a big draw for eco-friendly tourists looking to stay in the area.
Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking is England’s largest single estate vineyard. With 265 acres currently under vine (10% of the UK’s plantings), it has a production capacity of 450,000 bottles.
The first vines were planted on the estate in 1986 and 2016 marked the 30th anniversary of grape growing at Denbies. The estate is family owned and run by the White family. Christopher White, Denbies CEO, has been at the helm for over 15 years and has lived on the estate with his family since 1984. Under his leadership, Denbies has become one of the largest and most successful wineries in England.
Denbies manages its 635-acre estate to the highest environmental standards and works with national and conservation bodies to promote local wildlife, trees and plants. As a result of its efforts, Denbies has seen a marked increase in birds, including partridge, wagtails and woodpecker, on the estate.
The plantings also support Denbies’ work with Surrey Wildlife Trust to reintroduce beekeeping on site. In 2016, Denbies has become the first vineyard member of the Bat Conservation Trust.