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English wine seeing rapid growth, WineGB report reveals

English and Welsh wine is seeing rapid growth across both the on and off-trade, according to new figures in industry body WineGB’s 2023 report.

The anlaysis the group, which represents the UK wine trade, reveals that on-trade sales have increased to 22% from 14% and off-trade has almost doubled from 25% last year to 41% this year.

Additionally, exports are up from 4 to 7% and it is predicted production will reach 25 to 29 million bottles by 2032 with 7,600 hectares of vines planted. At present there are 4,000 hectares.

Following a call from Sussex last week to accelerate wine tourism, the report showed almost a quarter of all revenue came from tourists (24%), with visitor numbers up 17% on 2021 as it recovers from the pandemic.

Employment in the wine trade is now estimated at 2,300 full-time roles employed with a further 8,300 people used in part time or seasonal work. There is a prediction of a 50% growth rate in full-time roles by 2025.

WineGB said the report is “the most robust set of data ever” on the UK wine trade, it claimed, as more than 90% of all production was covered by survey respondents.


Ned Awty, Interim WineGB CEO said it was an “overwhelming response” to its survey and as a result it gave the body new insights into wine tourism, employment and sales from largest to smallest producers.

He said: “This data marks a coming of age for our organisation and with it we can make better decisions to enhance and grow wine production and sales in Britain and beyond.  We can also demonstrate the positive impact we have on economies and the environment at a local and national scale.”

Speaking about the findings, chair of WineGB Sam Linter, said it “truly are exciting times for English and Welsh wine”, and the report sets out the direction of travel for the whole trade.

She said: “It not only sets out where we are today, but looks ahead to the next ten years in terms of production and the many opportunities. We have become an internationally acclaimed wine growing region of the highest quality.”

Kent-based producer Chapel Down also welcomed the findings on the “extraordinary growth” of the UK wine industry.

Andrew Carter, CEO of Chapel Down, and who is also on the board of directors at WineGB, said: “Consumers’ appetite is going from strength to strength at home and abroad, with an ever increasing awareness of English wine’s quality also leading to continued notable successes in international awards. Kent, our home, continues to be the leading region, with 26% of total plantings. What’s most pleasing is the positive impact all of this growth is having on local economies.”

Growth sector

The news comes as British farmers were told to start planting vineyards in order to survive as the country’s climate changes.

The co-founder of Balfour Winery, Richard Balfour-Lynn, said the opportunity for the rising demand for grapes was “huge” for British farmers, with data from Wine GB showing a 70% rise in plantings and more than 4,000 hectares becoming vineyards in recent years.

But even in the face of such exponential growth, Balfour said it was still not enough to satisfy its needs, and was sourcing grapes from farmers who previously hadn’t considered vineyards a viable option in recent years. The company, which was founded in 2002, was “still looking for partnerships with farmers or fruit growers” in order to fund further expansion, such was the level of demand.

It also follows evidence from property agents Strutt and Parker who claimed that almost half-a-billion pounds had been spent on vineyards and wineries in the past five years across the country.

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