Britain’s wine industry continues to grow at an astonishing pace, with international recognition for English wines increasing every year. Not only do the latest figures from the UK wine industry show a record-breaking harvest from last year, but sales of English wine doubled both here and abroad, and the UK has more land under vine than ever before.
A very English success story
The last decade has seen the English wine industry transform into a thriving industry led by qualified professionals heading up more than 500 commercial vineyards in Great Britain. In that time the area under vine in England and Wales has increased by 160% to reach 2,888 hectares.
A survey of the UK wine industry by national association Wines of Great Britain (WineGB), in conjunction with data analysts Wine Intelligence, showed a record-breaking 15.6 million bottles of English wine were produced last year – that’s 130% more than from 2017’s crop and way ahead of the previous record of 6.3m bottles in 2014.
So what made it such a good year? Wine growers and producers in England have to use all kinds of techniques such as strategic pruning and specialist fermentation processes to create the best possible wines from the resulting harvests that battle against the vagaries of the British climate, but it seems – weather-wise, at least – 2018 was a different story. Warm spells around budburst and flowering, no severe frost, and a prolonged dry summer that stretched into harvest created the perfect mix of conditions for a record year for English wine.
A nation of wine lovers
Figures from WineGB show wine is now more popular than ever in the UK, with sales of English and Welsh wines doubling last year, and an apparent royal seal of approval in recent years has certainly helped. When Queen Elizabeth II turned 80 in 2006 she chose an English wine for her reception, and English sparkling wines headed up bumper wine sales for the four-day weekend to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
Indeed, a recent poll commissioned by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) showed wine is now the favoured alcoholic drink for 60% of UK adults, including the majority in each age group and across all regions of the UK, amounting to over 30 million regular wine consumers across the country.
A sparkling future
The growth of English wine shows no sign of slowing down. WineGB says a further 2 million vines are set to be planted this year, confirming the UK wine industry as one of the fastest-growing agricultural sectors in the UK
Here at Lyme Bay Winery, our English wines are now well established as amongst the very best still and sparkling wines that this country has to offer. With an astonishing 33 awards last year for our English Wines, these beautifully crafted grape wines are now highly sought after.
Amongst other accolades, 2018 saw a trio of Gold medals awarded for our red, rosé and white wines. Lyme Bay Pinot Noir Red took Gold at the Sommelier Wine Awards, our Pinot Noir Rosé carried off the same at the WineGB Awards, and our Chardonnay became only the second English still wine ever to win an International Wine Challenge Gold award.
Conceived, crafted and bottled right here in our Devon Winery, we give our English sparkling wines just as much attention as our still wines, and this effort continues to pay off. Last year’s awards successes for our English sparkling wines include Gold for our Blanc de Noirs at the Food & Drink Devon Awards and Silver at the WineGB Awards for our Classic Cuvee.
See for yourself
Another factor helping to propel interest in English wine is wine tourism, thanks to the fantastic wine tours and wine-tasting experiences expertly curated by the owners and growers at many of Britain’s vineyards.
We welcome visitors to our Winery shop here in Shute, near Axminster in Devon, so do pop in for a chat and a sample of our latest offering if you are passing. Alternatively, you can always get in touch with our friendly team here at the Winery via email at [email protected] or by calling us on 01297 551355 if you’d like to order by phone. You can also follow Lyme Bay on Twitter: @LymeBayWineLtd and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.