UK wine industry becomes one of fastest growing agri sectors

2019 sees a 24% increase in the overall land now under vine (Photo: Frithsden Vineyard, Hertfordshire)
2019 sees a 24% increase in the overall land now under vine (Photo: Frithsden Vineyard, Hertfordshire)

A record 3 million vines has been planted in England and Wales this year, making the UK one of the world's fastest growing wine regions.

Latest planting figures confirming that around 3 million vines were planted this year - equating to an additional 690 hectares of vineyards and a 24% increase in the overall land now under vine.

This is nearly double that planted last year (1.6 million vines) and three times the 1 million vines planted in 2017, making the wine industry one of the fastest-growing agricultural sectors in the UK.

Whilst much of the planting has taken place in counties of South East of England, the spread of vines includes Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, Devon, Somerset, Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex and Wales.

It comes as the wine industry celebrates English Wine Week and Welsh Wine Week, which started on Saturday 25 May until Sunday 2 June.

'Thriving industry'

The industry’s trade body Wines of Great Britain (WineGB) said the British wine industry is 'thriving'.

“This impressive figure of 3m vines represents another milestone in the growth of our fantastic industry,” said Simon Robinson, Chairman.

“Last year we set out our vision that in the next 20 years, at the rate of current growth, we could be producing some 40 million bottles per year. We’re certainly heading towards that.”

These growth figures come off the back of the UK’s most successful vintage last year, following the summer and harvest of 2018 which yielded some 15.6m bottles.

This smashed the previous production figure, which up until this year averaged at around 5 ½ million bottles.

Home-grown wines

It comes at a time when English and Welsh wines are enjoying wider popularity in the UK, with most supermarkets now stocking home-grown wines as well as featuring on restaurant and retailer lists around the country.

Wine tourism is also providing a popular pastime, with some 200 vineyards open to the public across the country.

There are over 500 commercial vineyards and 165 wineries in the UK today. 69% of all wines produced in the UK are sparkling.