It may astonish you to know that there are now 943 vineyards spread across Great Britain, accounting for 3,928 hectares (9,700 acres) under vine, according to a new report from trade group WineGB.
England has 3,855 hectares under vine, of which 70.3 are in Wales, and 1.9 in Scotland. For most Brits, that's a truly astonishing set of figures. Furthermore, the industry produced 12.2 million bottles in 2022, which represents a 130 percent increase on the 5.3 million bottles produced in 2017. Sparkling wine accounts for two thirds of production, a percentage that has remained pretty consistent over the past five years, reports Decanter.
Perhaps even more remarkably, viticulture is now the fastest growing agricultural sector in the UK, according to official government figures. The chardonnay grape is the most planted variety (31 percent), followed by pint noir (29 percent), according to The Drinks Business.
WineGB surveyed its members on how the next decade will unfold, and it received responses from companies accounting for more than 90 percent of the country’s production. The respondents predicted that the total area under vine in Great Britain will increase to 7,600 hectare (18,780 acres) by 2032. They also expect production to hit 25 million to 29 million bottles per year by that point.
Sam Linter, chair of WineGB, said: ‘These truly are exciting times for English and Welsh wine. We have become an internationally acclaimed wine growing region of the highest quality.’
Kent is a hotspot for wine production, as it currently accounts for 1,033 hectares (2,553 acres) under vine - 26 percent of the country’s total plantings. Kent is on the south east coast and enjoys, for England at least, a particularly balmy climate. However, a little further west, Hampshire was the region that brought home the gold medals for English sparkling wine in 2023 at the IWSC, with two awarded to RAIMES English Sparkling, Classic Brut 2018 and Hattingley Valley Wines, Classic Reserve Brut NV.