The government has launched a new scheme aimed at boosting training opportunities for those pursuing a career in the domestic wine industry. This initiative looks to ensure that there is a sufficient workforce to support the future of British wine.

The Future Winemakers’ Scheme was announced yesterday (April 16) by environment secretary Steve Barclay at the WineGB Conference for Growth at Plumpton College. Barclay shared that £1.5 million in funding has been set aside for the scheme.

As the government looks to support the continued growth of the British wine sector, the funding will be spent predominantly on education and training programmes to support the next generation of winemakers and industry workers. A portion of the funding will go towards delivering new courses at Plumpton College.

Barclay said the wine industry has “significant scope to expand”, adding: “Around 2,300 people work in the British wine industry with a further 8,300 people employed part time, with numbers expected to grow by 50% next year.

“We are proud of what British winemakers have achieved over recent years, and we continue to work hard in partnership with the wine sector to simplify the rules and bring in new financial support.”

Nicola Bates, CEO of WineGB, said the funding is vital in ensuring that “we can train more British winemakers and viticulturists to staff our growing industry”.

She continued: “We are pleased that the Secretary of State has listened to our members to better understand the ways that the Government can support our sector at this pivotal point in our history.  

“We are the fastest growing agricultural industry with 4,200 hectares under vine, which is forecast to rise by 85% by 2032. After a bumper harvest of almost 22 million bottles last year, we need greater backing to ensure sustainable and transformative growth.”