English wine: 2017 is record year for vine planting
One million vines will be planted in the UK this year; the largest number ever planted in a single year in the UK.
Over the past tenyears the acreage planted with grapevines has grown by 135%, and since 2000 the area under vine has nearly tripled. This activity means wine production is one of the fastest growing agricultural sectors in the UK.
This year's "record-breaking" amount of vine planting will eventually yield another two million bottles of sparkling wine, adding an estimated £50m to the industry. These vines will fill an estimated 625 acres - the equivalent of planting up the whole of London's Hyde Park and Kensington - according to the trade body for English wine, English Wine Producers.
Viticultural consultant, Stephen Skelton MW, said: "2017 will see the largest number of vines ever planted in a single year in the UK, and underlines the popularity of both English sparkling and still wines with the wine-buying public. Producers have seen demand soar, both at home and abroad, and are planting for the future."
There are now more than 500 vineyards in England and Wales and around 5000 acres under vine. An average of 5m bottles is currently produced, two thirds of which is sparkling wine. Production is projected to double in the next five years.
Along side this news, the industry has launched a new competition designed to celebrate the successes of England and Wales' wine producers. The inaugural UK Wine Awards will be led by wine experts including Susie Barrie MW, Oz Clarke and Hamish Anderson. Support for these awards will also come from Hotel du Vin, Country Life magazine and Waitrose, which carries the largest range of English and Welsh wines on the high street.