Simpsons Wine Estate owners Ruth and Charles bought their first vineyard and winery, in Languedoc, South of France in 2002. After enjoying great success across the channel, they bought their winemaking expertise back to the UK in 2012 to pioneer an English Sparkling Wine project.
They invested in 90 acres of land in the North Downs in Kent – an area of outstanding natural beauty that is perfectly suited to viticulture – and from 2014 to 2017 planted vines across three sites. Their first harvest took place in autumn 2016, and last year, they released their first wine from the Estate, a limited edition Chardonnay.
Simpsons Wine Estate contacted Rap Interiors to design and convert a section of their winery into a state of the art visitor attraction, utilising an existing two-storey mezzanine within the winery. Frovi was excited and pleased to be involved in this project, providing furniture for the wine tasting room.
The works included the creation of a meet and greet area; an open plan office; and a high end wine tasting room to hold events. In addition to these spaces, Ruth and Charles Simpson wanted colour-changing LED floodlights to illuminate the winery and a Helter Skelter slide to transport guests from the wine tasting room to the ground floor for an unforgettable post-tasting exit.
It was also important to Simpsons that the wine tasting room, known as ‘The Glasshouse’, overlooked the winery to enhance the experience for guests. This would involve encasing the mezzanine in glass – an operation that would require an exceptional level of expertise to execute.
Other key features of the meet and greet area design included a wall vinyl graphic showing an image of the Simpsons’ vineyard; soft furniture and a glass top coffee table for waiting guests; two luxury WCs with durable stone resin basins; and a storyboard wall with framed images chronicling the narrative journey of Simpsons Wine Estate.
The Glasshouse would be split into two sections: a bar area where the Simpsons team could host the wine tasting events and a luxurious lounge for guests to unwind while taking in the stunning view of the winery.
To give the top floor a high end feel, Rap’s interior designers implemented a number of bespoke features. These including a hanging pendant light with custom wine glass bulbs etched with the Simpsons Wine Estate Logo; ‘S’ shaped wine bottle holders fashioned out of aluminium metal; a bespoke bar with an ocean ripple finish and integrated, self-cleaning spittoons; and plush velvet sofas and cocktail chairs. Rap also introduced sumptuous gold stools by Frovi to the bar for an added touch of class.
In addition to the bar area and lounge, an amazing Helter Skelter slide was installed which could transport guests to ground level. Despite facing a number of health and safety challenges, the slide got the go ahead and its addition ensures that The Simpsons’ vision for the visitor attraction was complete.