Welsh winery and distillery numbers rise as industry calls for government support

There are now 17 distilleries in Wales, up from just one in 2012, while a further six vineyards were opened this year bringing the total to 23, according to the latest figures from the WSTA.

White Castle Vineyard, Abergavenny

At an event to promote the Welsh wine and spirits industry at the National Assembly for Wales last week, the industry, which employs around 33,000 people and provides around £400 million for the Treasury each year, called for more government support.

Hosted by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), in conjunction with Janet Finch-Saunders, assembly member for Aberconwy, the event gave local wine and spirit producers the chance to speak to AM’s and show off their products.

According to the latest figures from HMRC, the number of distilleries in Wales has risen from only one in 2012 to 17 in 2017, with four new openings last year.

In addition, it is thought there are at least 23 vineyards in Wales which produce both still and sparkling wine, with a reported six vineyards opening in 2017.

The WSTA is calling on the government to increase its support for wine producers and distillers in Britain.

Da Mhile with Elin Jones AM, presiding officer for the National Assembly.

Sales of wine and spirits in Wales are now worth almost £1.3 billion (2017) with roughly £650m spent on wine and £630m on spirits.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: “Welsh wine and spirit businesses continue to boom, with both the size of the industry and the quality of produce increasing each year. Our event at the Senedd was well attended, and it was clear that assembly members have great enthusiasm for supporting welsh wine and spirits producers.

“Four distilleries opened in Wales last year, and a reported six vineyards as well, bringing a boost to the local economy as well as new jobs to the area.

“There is a significant amount of investment going into wine and spirits in Wales, and the industry was worth over £1 billion pounds to the Welsh economy last year, but 48% of this goes straight to the Treasury. That’s why the support of Welsh AMs is so crucial as producers look to invest in their business, and seek to take advantage of new export opportunities as we ready for Brexit.”

Janet Finch-Saunders, Assembly Member for Aberconwy and Sponsor of the event, added: “It was a great evening at the Senedd and I was proud to host wine and spirit producers from across Wales. Their contribution to the economy shouldn’t go unnoticed, and their importance cannot be understated, particularly given that around 33,000 jobs across Wales rely on them.

“The products they showcased were great and there was lots of innovation on display. I look forward to seeing the Welsh wine and spirits industry continue to grow in the coming years”.

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