The future of English wine is with PGIs says Danielle Whitehead of Plumpton College

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Cellar door tourism and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) is where the future of English wine lies said Danielle Whitehead, wine brand manager at Plumpton College, speaking at Imbibe Live today.

Whitehead’s seminar on the future of English charted the rise to England’s current body of 502 vineyards and 147 wineries and looked to the future as the industry continues to expand.

She predicted that the country would start to see the creation of a protected designation of origin (PDO) for English wine and regions such as Sussex, which ha already applied for a PDO and is still awaiting EU approval. This distinction between areas such as Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire, as well as the more niche regions up in East Anglia and Wales will start to push wineries together to drive their collective PGIs and PDOs, Whitehead predicted.

This ability to begin to differentiate regions comes down to the growth in English wines.

‘The area under vine had tripled since 2000 and a million vines were planted 2017, the largest amount seen so far. This year it’s set to be 1.5 to 1.7 million vines,’ she said.

English wine is also set to continue to innovate, predicted Whitehead, with last week marking the first Pinotage planting in Leonardslee, West Sussex. Attracting attention from champagne houses such as Tattinger in Kent and Pommery in Hampshire is further evidence of the exciting changes still to come, she said.

Finally, looking to markets such as California and South Africa, Whitehead said English tourism is going to change the market with a huge thirst from consumers to visit wineries and buy from the cellar door.

‘What consumers will spend at the cellar door is encouraging,’ she said, ‘and already regions are uniting to bring people to their wineries, at the same time as opening new visitor centres with great restaurants and tasting bars.’

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