Number of new wine producers soars as demand for boutique food and drink products increases

Publications that covered this story include: The Times, The Independent, The Guardian and City AM, all 26 October 2015.
  •  41% rise in applications to HMRC from new wine producers
  • Wine industry buoyed by success of craft beer producers

The number of new wine producers in the UK continues to rise as HMRC received 65 applications from new wine producers last year, up 41% from 46 in the previous last year, according to our research.

The number of wine producers that applied to register with HMRC last year was also over double the 31 applications HMRC received in 2012-13, as the UK’s boutique food and drink sector continues to flourish.

We state that the growing demand for UK produced wine has been driven by the rise in popularity of locally sourced and artisan produce, which has attracted more new players to the market.

We explain that the figures include both British wine, made in the UK from imported grapes, and the higher quality English wine producers that have primarily driven the rise, including:

  • Chapel Down, which won the prestigious Gold Award at 2015 International Wine Challenge
  • Denbies, the UK’s largest vineyard, which currently produces around 10% of all wine in the UK
  • Three Choirs vineyard was established in 1973 and became the first English vineyard to be awarded a gold medal at Vinexpo

We add that other sectors of the UK’s flourishing boutique food and drink sector that have seen rapid growth include:

  • the craft beer industry, which has seen the number of new microbreweries increase by 24% in a year from 291 to 361
  • the artisan spirits segment where the number of applications from new distilleries more than trebled in the last year, up from 20 to 65

James Simmonds, partner, explains: “The UK’s wine industry has really stepped up its game in recent years and as it continues to make its way up the rankings these products are increasingly viewed as luxury items.”

“As customers have increasingly realised the high quality of the wine produced in the UK, demand has soared and a greater number of producers than ever before are flocking to the market.”

“There is huge demand in the UK for locally sourced products and the growing interest in the wine industry naturally follows on from the surge in popularity of craft beer over the last five years. English wine is now regarded as an aspirational product in the same vein as craft beer.”

We add that there are currently 470 commercial vineyards in England and Wales**.

The number of applications to become new wine producers in the UK has risen by 41% in the last year and doubled over three years as demand soars

New wine producers

*Year end 5 April 2015.

** Data from the Wine Standards Branch, Food Standards Agency, September 2015.