La Mare Wine Estate
Established in 1972, La Mare Wine Estate is Jersey’s only working vineyard. The Estate comprises an eclectic mix of authentic Jersey buildings and beautiful gardens, as well as offering corporate events, weddings and wine tours.
La Mare recently underwent a refurbishment in order to make its event space the best it could be and enlisted the help of architect Axis Mason to create plans that make the most of the stunning location.
Tim Crowley, Managing Director at La Mare Wine Estate said:
“We call it The Winery event room, and it links directly to the vineyard café which is a beautiful oak and glass building overlooking the vines. This work is part of a bigger plan to redevelop the tourism and event space at the wine estate. Each spring we have just two months to complete any building projects before the estate reopens to the public for the rest of the year. Its pressure, but exciting.
This recent phase was a major one because it involved the first major redevelopment since 2006 and we really took it back to zero. It was already working as an event space but we opened it up to get the best out of the key assets; i.e. views out to the garden and the vineyard which we hadn’t done before. We took in a major re-dress of the acoustics of the room, and the new materials are shaped so they look like branches in design – they were a bespoke design and shipped in from New Zealand.
I like to think we really do listen to people and our customers guided us in our decision making. The acoustics needed improving, the lighting was at an age where it needed changing and we significantly upgraded the air conditioning system. As a working wine estate, we are custodians of the environment around us and take this role very seriously. We’re are green gold status in the UK’s Green Business Tourism scheme and also an eco- active business leader so we had a real goal to move all of our business to LED lighting, and the event room was probably the biggest part of that change and indeed the last bit of our business to transfer over to LED. So it’s not just working as an events centre but also fitting into the environment and countryside around us. And that was very important to us.”
The scheme uses a mixture of beautiful natural oak and heritage colours within the function room, a modern space in a traditional working estate. Large floor to ceiling windows have been installed to maximise the stunning views across the vineyards and gardens; as well as high-tech audio-visual facilities. The ceiling, which is often dressed with flowers and foliage, became a feature in itself with three stunning ‘wine glass’ chandeliers.
“Phase one was inside, phase two is outside and will complement the new design inside. The next works will include walkways, railings, outdoor lighting, a grander entrance, covered walkways. Historically, there were a lot of closed in areas outside so we removed most to create more of an open space.
Feedback has been fantastic; for people coming on a wine tour, they’ve been particularly uplifted by the ceiling height and design in the room. The ambience is the warm rich fireside feeling which was made possible by the smart LED lighting system and three wine glass chandeliers.”
He finishes with an outlook on the project as a whole:
“We’re investing because we have confidence in Jersey’s tourism and events sectors. We have a responsibility to our clients to exceed their expectations and we wanted to lead and not follow in terms of what we offer and a key measurement of success in any design is seeing how the place makes our guests feel. It’s important to us that guests feel good in the venue. From a corporate events perspective, the importance is placed on us staying in the game and giving clients what they want and more.”