Grape Expectations in England

In 2018, the wine industry sold a record 15.6 million bottles.

More than 3 million vines had been planted in England and Wales this year alone. That’s three times as many as 2017, making this region one of the world’s fastest growing grape explosion!

Is climate change a factor?

Parts of England are experiencing a boom in the number of vineyards due to increasing temperatures. Some are even calling one of the regions the "New Champagne" of Europe. So far, this rush to wine is largely based on speculation. In reality, farmers will have to deal with all of the uncertainty that comes with climate change including extreme weather and pests.

In a recent article from Reuter’s - As taste for English wine grows, rush for vineyard land underway - farmers and others in the industry talk about this new demand for English wines and how farmers are adapting to this warmer climate.

Simon Robinson, chairman of Wines of Great Britain (WineGB), a national trade body explains why this could be a good thing…

"Potential vineyard land looks like a really attractive bet," said Robinson, who also owns Hattingley Valley vineyard in Hampshire.

Not all farming land is suitable for vineyard planting, he noted, with land generally having to be south facing to soak up the sun, on a slope and with the correct kind of earth to control drainage and water retention.

As a result, more than 70% of wine is produced in the southeast of the country.

Such vineyard-suitable land can attract a premium of about 50% more than general agricultural land, he said.

"We also get land owners who have woken up to the idea that vineyards are not an eccentricity, they're actually a potentially very attractive way of employing their land,"

Interest in grape-growing has particularly risen as Britain prepares to leave the European Union, said Robinson, as subsidies for traditional agricultural land are likely to fall and farmers seek diverse sources of income.

By 2040, the industry is projected to generate almost 650 million.

We’ll be following along on this new agriculture uptick in next ‘wine country.’

Produced for the Thomson Reuters Foundation food sustainability media training by: Karen Buchsbaum, Kim Harrisburg and Nastasha Alli.