English wine industry continues to boom – 64 new producers open in a year

Publications that covered this story include The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, The Belfast Telegraph, Manchester Evening News, Aberdeen Journal, The Weather Channel and Oxford Mail, all on 29 May.
  • 73% increase in wine producers and vineyards in a year
  • English wine set to be a real contender for Prosecco and Champagne in the global market

English wine continues to boom, with a record 64 new wine producers and vineyards launching their businesses in the last year*, and up 73% on the previous year.

The figure is a significant increase on the 37 wine producers and vineyards opening in 2016, and marks some 204 producers and vineyards having opened over the last five years.

The rise can be attributed to the growth in popularity in English wine, particularly English sparkling wine. Wine producers in England are already expected to plant more than one million vines over the next 12 months, which will result in some two million more bottles of English wine each year**.

Improved sales of English wine have also encouraged aspiring wine producers to start their own businesses. This is part of the growing trend in boutique alcohol production, which has gained popularity over recent years due to products such as craft beer and artisan gin.

The number of new breweries opening increased by 58% since last year from 249 to 394, and the number of new distilleries by 25% from 28 to 35.

English wine has had some high-profile support to help its public image. Nus Ghani, the MP for Wealden, which is home to over a dozen vineyards and wine producers, called for overseas British diplomats to only serve English wine in their embassies to improve its profile.

The recent fall in sterling following the Brexit vote is expected to be beneficial for English wine producers, as the cost of importing wine from Europe rises. English sparkling wine is currently exported to 27 countries globally***, and as the cost of exporting wine from the UK falls it could give a further boost to the sales of English wine overseas.

But despite the fast growth of the industry, English wine currently accounts for only 1% of sales in the domestic market. English wine is considered to be of higher quality than British wine, which is made from imported grapes.

James Simmonds, partner in our Nottingham office, says; “English wine production, in particular English sparkling wine, is now being taken seriously on both a local and global platform which has enabled the industry to thrive.”

“As the cost of exporting to Europe falls and imports rising, English sparkling wine has an opportunity to become a real contender for Prosecco and Champagne in the global market.”

“With Brexit now on the horizon, it is more important than ever to support local industry and to cement the UK as a globally recognised exporter of high quality goods.”

64 new English wine producers open in a year – up by 73%

*Source: HMRC

**Source: English Wine Producers

*** Source: Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs