Cool 2016 sees English wine production dip 20%

8th May, 2017 by Arabella Mileham

Volumes of English wine dipped nearly 20% below the average production in 2016, due to a combination of cool conditions during the summer and a lack of moisture in the later part of the growing season.

The overall volume recorded for 2016 was 31,116 hectolitres (equivalent to around 4.15m bottles), which was nearly 18% below last year’s average production of around 5 million bottles. However marketing body English Wine Producers insisted it was a “high quality vintage”.

The figure was release today ahead of the annual English Wine Producers trade tasting.

Read more

English wines are now world class’ 

Chapel Down launches £100 English fizz 

Taittinger begins planting English vineyard

Severe frosts wipes out crops across England

2016 got off to a slow start, and the cool and wet weather during flowering in June with the conditions continuing throughout July and August, which English Wine Producers said had had an impact on fruit development, bunch growth and véraison. However good weather from mid-August and across the autumn helped boost ripening, producing high quality fruit.  Harvest was a few weeks later than usual but a lack of moisture towards the end of the growing season meant there was generally low bunch weights and smaller berries, affecting overall volumes.

Last year saw an average harvest of around 5.06m bottles (37,977 hectolitres), although this was more than a 1 million bottles fewer than the record-breaking vintage of 2014. That year saw volumes of 6.3 million bottles, an increase of 42% on the 2013 harvest.

However EWP said that the recent run of good, fruit-bearing vintage years meant stock levels of English wine are good. “Established producers are well prepared to cope with the increasing demand for English wine at home and abroad. With grapes from many young vineyards yet to come on stream, volumes will rise in the future,” it said.

Frost damage

The 2017 harvest is widely anticipated to be more challenging, after vines were hit by late frosts in many areas. Although the impact is still being assessed, it is thought that this may be particularly damaging after vines had got off to a good start due to the unseasonably mild winter and early spring, making them more susceptible to damage.

“Frost damage has been on the new growth from the primary buds. Vines carry secondary buds, which can develop to produce some fruit, albeit less in quantity.  It is far too soon to assess the effect that this frost will have had until much further in to the growing season, after flowering,” EWP said.

Simon Robinson, Chairman of English Wine Producers and owner of Hattingley Valley Wines in Hampshire said this had been “very disappointing” given the good start to this year’s growing season, but said that it was inevitable that there would be a mixtures of more and less productive years. “Our producers are accustomed to levels of variation and continue to set their sights on the future – challenging conditions such as these do not invalidate the basic business model either here or anywhere else in Europe.”

Acreage under vine in the UK has more than doubled in the last decade, and nearly tripled since 2000, with the latest hectarage officially for 2016 now standing at 2,077ha. This is set to rise to 2,330 ha by 2017, after around 1 million vines are planted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

2 x Buying Assistants

Berry Bros. & Rudd
Battersea and Basingstoke, UK

Temporary Christmas Sales Support - Wines & Spirits

Harrods
Knighsbridge, London, UK

Head of Wholesale

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

Sales Manager

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

National Sales Manager

Maverick Drinks
Field based, UK

Regional Sales Executive

EWGA
Gloucestershire, UK

Senior Content Writer

Rude Wines
Ledbury, UK

Events and Trips Manager

Berkmann Wine Cellars
London, UK

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
East Scotland, UK

Account Manager Central London

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

The World Bulk Wine Exhibition

Amsterdam,Netherlands
20th Nov 2017

The Drinks Business Green Awards 2017

London,United Kingdom
20th Nov 2017

The Global Spirits Masters Lunch

London,United Kingdom
1st Dec 2017
Click to view more

Green Awards 2017

Deadline : 21st October 2017

The Global Riesling Masters 2017

Deadline : 30th October 2017

Click to view more

Champagne Masters 2017

The only Champagne blind tasting in the UK, the competition will reward the best wines in the following categories:

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

Click to view more