England sees 37 new wine producers in the last year as industry thrives

This publication was covered in City AM, i, The Guardian,  The Daily Express, The Telegraph, The Times, Evening Standard and The Mirror on 30 and 31 May 2016. This publication was also covered in City AM on 21 July 2016.
  • Number of new producers approaches 200 over the last five years
  • Continuing popularity of boutique alcohol and local produce a factor

According to our research, there were 37 new wine producers and vineyards opened in the last year*, as the country’s wine industry continues to flourish.

The number of newly licensed producers entering the wine industry has remained strong over the last five years, with a total of 170 wine producers starting up over the period.

The rise continues to be driven by the high quality English wine, rather than what is considered to be a lower quality British wine. British wine is made from imported grapes.

English wines are increasingly winning recognition on the international stage with 72 English wines winning medals at the 2015 International Wine Challenge, and 14 sparkling English wines winning gold, including:

  • Sussex based Bluebell Vineyard for its Blanc de Blancs 2010;
  • Squerryes Estate’s Squerryes Brut 2010; and
  • Hampshire based Hattingley Valley Wines for its Classic Curvée NV.

We found that English wine’s success internationally, has encouraged more aspiring wine producers to start up their own business.

Although sales are currently largely restricted to the UK market, exports are expected to rise over the next four years with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) predicting that UK wine exports will increase from £3.2 million in 2015 to over £30 million in 2020.

James Simmonds, partner, comments: “In recent years the wine industry has gone from strength to strength, and customers are now opting for English wines over French or Italian products, which twenty years ago would have been seen as a joke.”

“Products like English Sparkling Wine have now firmly established themselves at the same table as those products with PDO** status such as Prosecco or Champagne.”

“Many English vineyards do a lot more than produce wine, which can make them very profitable businesses. They are diversifying to offer tastings and tours, have restaurants, rooms for overnight guests and even be a venue for weddings and other events.”

“The increasing success of English wine as well as the other business and hospitality opportunities that come with running a vineyard can be an attractive prospect for the wine enthusiast.”

Continuing popularity of boutique alcohol

The continuing popularity of boutique alcohols such as craft beer or artisan gin has also been a factor in the strong numbers of newly licensed wine producers over the last five years. The emphasis of boutique alcohol’s premium, locally sourced ingredients and exclusivity set a wider trend across the UK for local independently made produce.

Indeed, the popularity for craft beer has driven 285 new breweries to be opened in England, 36 of which are located in London. There has also been a 33% increase in the number of distilleries in England from 21 in 2014 to 28 last year due to the revival of gin.

James Simmonds continues: “With more national and international demand for English wine, it is likely that we will continue to see a number of new producers coming to the market in the next few years.”

*Year-end December 31 2015
** Protected Designation of Origin