Trade organisation WineGB is looking to establish Britain as one of the most sustainable winegrowing regions in the world as the English wine category continues to expand both domestically and internationally. 

Speaking ahead of the Wines of Great Britain annual trade tasting, WineGB chair Sam Linter (pictured left) noted the considerable growth of the English wine industry in the past five years, with a 74% growth in vineyard hectarage. This brings the total number of vineyards in the UK to 943, 82% of which are commercially active. 

As production increases, the trade body’s newly appointed sustainability ambassador, Anne Jones (pictured right), highlighted WineGB’s commitment to promoting sustainable practices within the English wine industry. 

“We want to be a leader in sustainability,” said Jones, adding: “And we believe that we are really well placed to take on that leadership role.”

As of last year, WineGB added sustainability to its strategic development pillars alongside the three existing pillars: leadership, services and growth. Jones said sustainability is “fundamental” to all pillars and the overall development of the industry as the trade body looks to maintain the natural environment in winegrowing regions while also catering to eco-conscious consumers. 

While environmental sustainability and biodiversity are key to WineGB’s goals, social sustainability will also tie into the group’s work. 

“We really need to look at the whole product when it comes to sustainability, and this absolutely includes people,” said Jones. “Biodiversity in vineyards is important but we need to consider the bigger picture, including people, packaging and distribution, to have a holistic approach to sustainability.”

Jones explained that the UK’s position as a relatively young wine producer provides an ideal opportunity to experiment with sustainable practices and develop a nationwide strategy.

“We have this benefit of being relatively new to the wine scene, and because of that we really lead in the sustainability space and work to carve it out.”

“By becoming leaders in sustainability, we can also help to create a footprint for other areas of business in the UK,” she said.