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Monday 26 June 2023

Wine is a boom industry in Britain

It was once considered a joke, but the British wine industry is booming.

Plantings of wine grapes have increased by 74% over the past five years due to soaring demand, Decanter magazine reports.

There are now 943 vineyards spread across Britain, accounting for 3,928 hectares under vine, a new report from national organisation WineGB reveals.

England has 3,855ha under vine, while 70.3ha of Wales and 1.9ha of Scotland are now dedicated to viticulture.

The industry produced 12.2 million bottles in 2022, which represents a 130% increase on the 5.3 million bottles produced in 2017 and sparkling wine trailblazer Nyetimber (above) is now imported into Australia by Deja Vu Wine Co. 

Sparkling wine accounts for 68% of UK production, a figure that has remained pretty consistent over the past five years.

Viticulture is now the fastest growing agricultural sector in the UK, official government figures show.

The industry employs 2,300 people on a full-time basis, while a further 8,300 people are employed in part-time or seasonal work.

Sam Linter, formerly of Bolney Wine Estate in West Sussex and the chair of WineGB, told Decanter: ‘These truly are exciting times for English and Welsh wine. We have become an internationally acclaimed wine growing region of the highest quality."

Kent is a hotspot for wine production, as it accounts for 1,033ha under vine – 26% of the country’s total plantings. Then come West Sussex, East Sussex and Hampshire. 

Chardonnay is the most widely planted variety accounting for 31% of total plantings, followed by pinot noir (29%), pinot meunier (9%), bacchus (8%) and seyval (3%).

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