Made in Britain
Although industry insights into the growth of Prosecco have been frequent at this year’s London Wine Fair, and the debate about bulk shipping has raged on, the buzz at ground level has been about the quality of wines on offer from English producers.
Now worth £100 million, the English wine industry is growing steadily and becoming a serious market player across the UK and Europe, increasingly supported by consumers in the same way they might choose a locally brewed beer.
According to the WSTA Market Overview (London Wine Fair 2015 edition), there are now 470 vineyards and 135 wineries across England and Wales, covering some 1,884 hectares – or the size of 2,645 full size football pitches.
In fact, the report reveals that in 2014, sparkling wines of a UK origin were the sixth most popular with British consumers, marking a year on year increase of nine per cent.
Clearly then, UK wine is something to take note of, although it’s not just sparkling wines that are creating excitement in the industry.
Table wines made with Bacchus, a cool climate varietal originating from Germany, have a taste of Sauvignon Blanc about them, ensuring accessibility for the consumer, and the 2014 vintage wines are of particular note.
A number of producers are also expanding their horizons and experimenting with wine making techniques to produce different styles, such as ice wines – a sweet desert wine created by freezing the grapes before pressing them.
With 2014 yielding a record harvest termed by most as “once in a generation”, the future looks bright for English wine.
And, as producers begin to move towards creating non-vintage entry level sparkling wines, instead of vintage ones, any peaks and troughs in the supply chain can be smoothed out much more easily, safeguarding the industry’s future and providing a steady stepping stone for continued growth.