A toast to growth for English wine and beer producer Chapel Down

Chapel Down turned to Redbox to create a brand new digital commerce experience to sell its products directly to customers online. This case study explains how Redbox: 

  • Created innovative and contemporary sites for Chapel Down and Curious Brewery that reflected the brand and persona of the company
  • Improved revenue by 56.89% in a year 
  • Helped transactions grow by 34.99% in the same year.

Chapel Down has been making a big noise in the wine and beer industry with its “less fizzy ‘pop’ – more a loud ‘BANG’” tagline.

A world-class range of sparkling and still wines has seen the company become one of the most recognised drinks brands in the UK. Its products areused by chefs and venues including Gordon Ramsey, The Royal Opera House and even 10 Downing Street.

Created using the “Traditional Method” used to make Champagne, except with fruit sourced from the southeast of England, Chapel Down even became the first English wine served at Ascot and the first English wine producer to feature on the Stock Exchange’s ‘1000 companies to inspire Britain.’

It also owns the Curious Brewery brands: Curious Brew, Curious Apple and Curious IPA. These have grown in popularity and appeal to a very different customer . Both lines helped the company enjoy a turnover over £11m in 2017. And the brand shows no signs of slowing down.

Redbox played an integral part in the success of the e-commerce arm of the Kent-based business. And with re-branding and a new e-commerce framework planned at the time of writing, Redbox hopes to be able to toast its future growth and success as the partnership continues to flourish.

The partnership begins

At the beginning of 2016, Chapel Down was looking to create a brand new digital commerce site to sell its wine and beer directly to consumers online.

Established in 2001, Chapel Down had become the market leader in English wines, selling a variety of bottles from its Tenterden vineyard shop and at various supermarkets, restaurants and bars, nationwide. Products such as Union Red and Bacchus Reserve. I.

It wanted its online presence to match the quality of its products. So, it chose Redbox, recognising that it was a company with a creative team that would meet its brief. 

Why Redbox and Adobe?

Chapel Down needed a lifestyle website with commerce functionality. With Redbox’s reputation for creating beautiful sites for high-end brands, and its extensive knowledge of the retail space, it was the clear favourite.

“We moved to Redbox because of the design skills that came with them,” said Chapel Down Group’s Digital and Brand Marketing Manager, Ross Cumming.

“We wanted something design-led: an exciting site that matched the quality of our products.

“Up until this point, we were using a customised structure and were not e-commerce focussed at all. After working with some smaller agencies, we were keen on moving to the next level with Redbox and Adobe.”

The wish-list: Better sales figures, a streamlined shopping experience

The brief was to incorporate a lot of imagery into the site, with the design having the feel of a high-end online magazine. High-quality graphic design, typography and layout were all important creative objectives.

The business also improve its brand and attract corporate investors. In addition, Chapel Down wanted sales growth, a streamlined shopping journey and checkout process, and support for customers to book of tours and experiences online.

So, what did Redbox bring to the party?

As well as working on the front and back-end development, Redbox were instrumental in art direction and content creation, which provided an exemplary customer experience.

Project discovery took place across May and June 2016, with Redbox upgrading the existing site to Adobe’s Magento 1.9 Community edition. The whole build was completed on time within six months.

The site was fully responsive, with content rich pages about the products. When a customer rolled over a bottle, they were given a description of the wine, for example. A clean and simple user interface allowed customers to easily and pleasantly purchase either single bottles or cases directly from the site.

To improve the customer experience further, Redbox worked on instilling the brand values on to the site: a strong sense of team; personalities that brought the team to life, and inclusivity.

Meanwhile, a CMS plugin and WordPress were added to allow a more intuitive way to combine and create content. Redbox also incorporated Amazon One Click and this was impressively cited by Amazon as “one of the best integrations of Amazon One Click.” Ross commented: “The team created a seamless commerce site that reflected the brand’s overall look and feel perfectly.

“The build also saw the implementation of a better CMS platform built into the site – this was something that really stood out. Redbox made it easy to understand the process behind it and it was easy for us to then build those ourselves after.”

Integration, integration, integration

Ross continued: “We integrated our CRM systems and our Email Service Provider. We also have integrations with Google and Facebook and a WordPress extension on the site that allows us to manage our news features.

“Magento works very well with all these systems. The ability to have them work with our services – bearing in mind we operate two different storefronts inside the one panel – is essential. It’s great having one back-end for a small business, as we have to work quite effectively and efficiently with the orders coming through.”

Time for a brew?

Following the successful launch in October 2016 and subsequent rise in sales, the Kent-based company brought in Redbox again – this time to develop a site for the beer and cider arm of the business.

The Curious Brewery brands, Curious Brew, Curious Apple and Curious IPA, were growing in popularity and appealed to a very different consumer than its wine business.

The wine and beer makers wanted to mirror the success of the Chapel Down site in driving conversion and sales of the beer and cider brands on a Magento platform.

Again, Redbox created a seamless commerce site to reflect the brand’s overall look and feel.

The results are in, and the future is rosy!

The sites were a resounding success. From May 2017 to June 2018, revenue at Chapel Down was up by a massive 56.89 per cent. E-commerce conversion rates were up 9.33 per cent and transactions up 34.99 per cent. The average order value was also up by 15.4 per cent.

Ross added: “The customer experience changed as a result of the development.

“We were able to provide a customer experience that matched the experience our customer had come to expect and are given when they come to our sites to try our products. We’ve seen our brand engagement grow since launching the site and it has helped us maintain this brand appearance.

“Since working with Redbox at the beginning of this process they have grown, so there have been changes, especially in terms of originally working with a smaller team to what is now a bigger team. But we are on a really good track on understanding deliverable times. Redbox has a really good, robust set of processes in place to help with this.

“With the websites now up and running, Redbox continue to help with the maintenance of the site and provide us with continued support.

“We have a future project coming up about re-branding our Curious Brew website to Curious Brewery and this will be a further evolution of the site itself from an e-commerce environment and design aesthetic point.

“We are also working on a framework about how e-commerce will shape the business and continue to grow with us so we can match our e-commerce business to the wider e-commerce industry and the pace its currently moving at. It’s exciting times.”


  • Industry: Drinks business focusing on wine, spirits, beer and cider
  • Number of employees: 100-150
  • Location: Headquarters in Ashford; winery in Tenterden; restaurant and bar in London
  • Background: They say: “Chapel Down Group PLC is one of the UK’s most exciting drinks companies. Producing a collection of world-class sparkling and still wines as England’s leading winemaker, together with an award-winning range of spirits and Curious beers & cider. “Our reason for being is to inspire people to stay curious. To question. To celebrate. To smile more. And to never graduate from the school of life. We craft premium quality alcoholic beverages, using just the very best ingredients sourced from our vineyards and the south of England.”