Good news for English wine producers as sparkling wine grows in popularity

Publications that covered this story include: The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, City AM, The Sun, The Daily Express, The Daily Mirror and Sky News on 15 August 2016.
  • Amount on sale in the UK grows by 80% in five years
  • English sparkling wine market growing with demand

According to our research, the amount of sparkling wine on sale in the UK has risen by 80% in the last five years from 17.6m gallons in 2011/12 to an estimated 31.6m gallons in 2015/16* (Source: HMRC).

The increase in the amount on sale is largely due to an increased consumer demand for products such as Prosecco and Cava, as well as the more local English sparkling wine.

We point out that although the majority of sparkling wine on sale in the UK is imported from established wine producing countries such as France, Italy and Spain, a growing proportion is now from English wine producers.

English sparkling wine has experienced a boost following the revival of Champagne alternatives whose affordability has helped introduce new customers to sparkling wine.

Growing international and national recognition of English sparkling wine has also led to a shift in consumer attitudes towards the locally produced product with more choosing to support British businesses.

Encouraged by this growth in popularity, there has been an increasing number of English wine producers coming to the market, with 37 new wine producers and vineyards opening in England in the last year alone**.

Many more established wine producers in England are now also looking to build on this growing consumer appetite and develop their product lines. For example, English sparkling wine producer Gusborne has recently launched a bond issue to raise £10m which will go towards investing in its two vineyards based in West Sussex and Kent.

Earlier this month, an English sparkling wine, a 2010 vintage of Nyetimber Classic Cuvee, appeared on fine wine trading platform Liv-ex for the first time.

James Simmonds, partner,says “The growth in the sparkling wine market is a great boost for those businesses producing English sparkling wine.”

“The recent introduction of an English sparkling wine to Liv-ex is a landmark moment and demonstrates how it is rapidly closing the gap between Champagne in the luxury market.”

“Not only is the growing success of English sparkling wine encouraging more to come to the market but more established names are now looking to expand into new stages of growth.”

“Vineyards provide businesses with numerous opportunities to diversify and offer additional services such as shops, cafes, wine-tastings, events and weddings as well as producing wine. These add-ons can be effective ways for new producers to supplement their income whilst waiting for their wine to mature.”

“It’s uncertain what will happen after Brexit to UK imports of Prosecco and Champagne, but what is clear is that no matter what happens English sparkling wine is already a viable alternative.”

Amount of sparkling wine on sale increased by 80% in five years

Graph 1

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*Year-end 31 May
** Year-end 31 December 2015