The CEO of trade organisation WineGB has said direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales are driving growth across English and Welsh wineries.

At today’s trade and press tasting Simon Thorpe MW said overall 2021 sales are up 31% year-on-year, registering growth of 69% from 2019 to 2021.

DTC sales have leapt 265% over the last two years, and now represent 57% of all sales in 2021 (up from 36% in 2019), Thorpe said.

WineGB also announced the launch of an industry-wide consultation to review the current Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) schemes. 

In June this year, wines grown and made in Sussex were awarded a PDO status.

“We need to ensure these schemes are fit for purpose for a modern, quality focused and innovative production,” said Thorpe. “We must have a scheme which protects and informs the consumer whilst equally adding value to producers.”

Thorpe also said WineGB’s Sustainable Wines of Great Britain (SWGB) scheme continues to grow, with 83 members covering 77 of the country’s vineyards, which accounts for around 55% of the total hectarage under vine. The trade group’s objective in the next three years is to “increase this to as much of production as possible and continue to build consumer awareness of the scheme, ensuring that wine consumers understand how resources are being protected”. At the moment, there are 35 SWGB-accredited wines on the market, which are able to carry the label.

 “We are also continuing our drive on sustainability, wine tourism, exports, product excellence and industry leadership,” added Thorpe. “The past 12 months have delivered a stronger and fitter wine production sector, one which is in a more robust place to confront the challenging economic times in which we live.”

According to WineGB, there are now 3,758 hectares under vine in England and Wales with 879 vineyards and 197 wineries (195 in England, two in Wales), employing around 10,000 workers. Hectarage has grown by 70% in five years, quadrupling in size since 2000.