Cheers! A record 3 million vines planted in England and Wales this year makes UK one of the world’s fastest-growing wine regions

NEWS RELEASE

26 May 2019

CHEERS! A RECORD 3 MILLION VINES PLANTED IN ENGLAND AND WALES THIS YEAR MAKES UK ONE OF THE WORLD’S FASTEST-GROWING WINE REGIONS

The UK wine industry is proving to be one of the fastest expanding wine regions in the world after seeing the biggest planting of vines on record this year.

As the industry celebrates English Wine Week and Welsh Wine Week, which started yesterday (Saturday 25 May – Sunday 2 June), the industry’s trade body Wines of Great Britain (WineGB) has just released the latest planting figures confirming that around 3 million vines were planted this year – equating to an additional 690 hectares of vineyards and a 24% increase in the overall land now under vine.

This is nearly double that planted last year (1.6 million vines) and three times the 1 million vines planted in 2017, making the wine industry one of the fastest-growing agricultural sectors in the UK.

Whilst much of the planting has taken place in counties of South East of England (Kent, Sussex and Hampshire) the spread of vines includes Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, Devon, Somerset, Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex and Wales – showing the ongoing expansion of wine production right across the UK.

“This impressive figure of 3m vines represents another milestone in the growth of our fantastic industry,” comments Simon Robinson, Chairman of WineGB. “Last year we set out our vision that in the next 20 years, at the rate of current growth, we could be producing some 40 million bottles per year. We’re certainly heading towards that. This is a thriving British industry.”

Food Minister David Rutley said: “Our wine makers are innovative, creative and determined, so it’s no surprise that we are seeing the fruits of their labour now shining on the world stage.

“I will continue to champion our innovative food and drink businesses, and I look forward to seeing more of our stand-out wines in restaurants and on shelves the world over.”

These growth figures come off the back of the UK’s most successful vintage last year, following the superb summer and harvest of 2018 which yielded some 15.6m bottles, smashing the production figure which up until then averaged at around 5 ½ million bottles.

This all comes at a time when English and Welsh wines are enjoying wider popularity in the UK, with most supermarkets now stocking home-grown wines as well as featuring on restaurant and retailer lists around the country. Wine tourism is also providing a popular pastime, with some 200 vineyards open to the public across the country.

Another reason for celebration is the recent raft of noteworthy successes achieved by English and Welsh wines in the major international competitions so far this year, proving that they are very much on the world stage in competing against their peers.

“There is so much going on to celebrate the wines of England and Wales – and perfect timing for English Wine Week,” comments Julia Trustram Eve, WineGB’s Marketing Manager. “Throughout the week and across the country, vineyards, retailers, restaurants and pubs will be hosting events and promotions to raise awareness in the English and Welsh wines.”

Many of the events and promotions are listed on WineGB’s website – www.winegb.co.uk

“There’s plenty for us to celebrate this year,” summarises Simon Robinson. “We’ll certainly raise a glass or two to that!”

ENDS

Notes to editors
• There are over 500 commercial vineyards and 165 wineries in the UK today
• 69% of all wines produced in the UK are sparkling, with the remaining 31% still (white, red, rosé)
• This year’s plantings have increased the hectarage from 2888ha to just over 3500 hectares
• In just 7 years hectarage under vine has more than doubled
English Wine Week
English Wine Week and Welsh Wine Week is a national campaign run by the UK wine industry body WineGB Wines of Great Britain to put the spotlight on the wines and vineyards of England and Wales. Timed to coincide with the popular late May bank holiday, during the Week promotions and activities are taking place across the country which include special in store tastings, winemaker dinners, sales offers, cellar door promotions, wines by the glass and tours with tastings at the vineyards themselves.

All events and participating outlets across the country are listed on the events pages of the WineGB website.

Examples include:
• Wine producers – Vineyards as far south as Cornwall and as far north as Leicestershire will be hosting vineyard tours and new regional wine trails are being launched. Wine tourism in the UK is a major growth area, with over 150 vineyards now open to the public. Clusters of vineyards in the winelands of Britain are now promoting their regions as go-to places to visit, boosting the food, drink and hospitality industries across the country
• Retailers – Waitrose, a long-time supporter of English and Welsh wines, will be kicking off a summer-long promotion across their in-store wine bars, matching English wine and cheese, as well as promotions and in-store tastings of their English and Welsh wines throughout the week. They now stock over 100 English and Welsh wines
• Hotels – Elite Hotels are offering special by-the-glass offers in their bars and restaurants across the UK including Luton Hoo, Ashdown Park, Tylney Hall and the Grand Hotel Eastbourne. London hotels such as The Stafford are also highlighting more English wines on their list
• Pubs – Many pubs are joining up with local vineyards to celebrate their wines
• Restaurants – Oliver Gladwin, head chef at the popular Notting Hill-based restaurant, The Shed, will be hosting a ‘Pop-up resto’ at Nutbourne Vineyard preparing a special tasting menu with locally foraged ingredients accompanied by Nutbourne wines
• Independent Wine Merchants – Indies across the UK are embracing English Wine Week with special displays, promotions, in-store tastings and events, often linking up with local vineyards and winemakers

For interviews, filming or photographs, please contact Julia Trustram Eve, Marketing Manager, WineGB on email: julia@winegb.co.uk
Tel: 01858 467792 or mobile: 07775 760451

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