Weather “not a disaster yet” for UK wine

CEO at Chapel Down, Frazer Thompson, has insisted that the current weather is “not a disaster yet” but the next 10 days are crucial for English winemakers.

The winemakers are still on tenterhooks as they hope for more stable weather in the next 10 days in order to determine what quality of grape harvest will be produced this year.

“Kent has had the best of the weather. We’ve had less rain and it’s been warmer than elsewhere,” Thompson told the drinks business.

“It has also been much worse in the mid-South (Hants, Dorset and West Sussex) than in Kent, Essex and East Sussex and where Chapel Down sources its fruit predominantly.

“It’s by no means a disaster or anything like it yet, but the weather over the next 10 days or so is important. We want to see warmer, stiller weather and less torrential rain.

“The weather in the South West in particular has been atrocious.”

With last month being the wettest since records began in 1910, the conditions have not been ideal for the flourishing English wine industry.

Right now, vineyard owners are taking a glass half full approach to their lot as the current conditions are actually better than they were at this time last year.

And last year’s harvest ended up producing a very good, if small crop, thanks to a final burst of hot weather.

In 2011 England and Wales picked enough grapes to make around 3 million bottles of wine, well below the record-breaking haul of 4 million bottles of still and sparkling wine in 2010.

English wine sales has seen a healthy year with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and London 2012 Olympics still to come as well.

During the Jubilee celebrations Waitrose saw English wines sales up 96%, Majestic wine sales soared and in Jubilee week, M&S sold 50,000 bottles of sparkling wines – 50 times more than a normal week.

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