The North East’s first urban winery is scaling up its operations after securing a second investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported By The European Regional Development Fund.

Laneberg Wine is the UK’s most northerly winery and released its first vintage of white and rosé wines in 2019 to great acclaim from customers, retailers and wine critics alike.

The Team Valley-based business worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers last year to bring in a £35,000 Small Loan Fund investment which it used by buy in the grapes for its first vintage, which were grown at a vineyard in Gloucestershire.

And Laneberg has now secured a further £10,000 investment through NEL to help increase production from 9,000 to around 14,000 bottles this year, which will use grapes sourced from vineyards in Hampshire and Leicestershire.

Laneberg wines are now stocked in a growing range of high-end North East retailers, including Carruthers & Kent in Gosforth, Rehills of Jesmond, Market Hall Wines in Durham and The Corbridge Larder, while they are also on the wine lists of restaurants including The French Quarter and Blackfriars in Newcastle.

Its 2019 Bacchus white is also currently listed by Fortnum & Mason at its flagship Piccadilly store after it was chosen by the store’s expert wine team after a blind tasting of 40 different bottles.

The 2018 Bacchus won medals at both the Wine GB Awards and the International Wine And Spirits Competition, while the current vintage was recently announced as the winner of a silver medal at the 2020 Wine GB Awards.

Winery founder Elise Lane says: “The success of our 2019 wines has enabled us to take a big step forward this year and we wanted to capitalise on this by increasing our production capacity for this year.

“Widening the range of wines we produce will help build brand awareness among an ever-growing range of customers and we’re really excited by the potential of the 2020 vintage.

“We’ve had a very positive relationship with the NEL team and it makes sense to work with them once again as our business moves into the next stage of its development.”

Part of the £120m North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9m North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of between £10,000 and £100,000 to businesses in Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland.

It is designed to assist with the creation of over 1,200 new regional jobs in more than 320 SMEs over the life of the fund.

Mark Wharton, portfolio executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “Ambitious businesses need ready access to investment capital at different stages of their development, so they can keep realise more of their potential and take advantage of new opportunities.

“Laneberg is one of a growing number of regional firms who have come back to us for a second North East Fund investment as they’ve achieved their initial business plan objectives and we’re looking forward to seeing and enjoying the fruits of their labours next year.”

The overarching £120m North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.