Wine Intelligence surveyed 183 WineGB members and found that a record number of 15.6 million bottles were produced in 2018, representing a staggering 130% increase compared to the previous year.
‘Our latest survey acknowledges 2018 as a milestone year for the industry,’ said chairman of WineGB Simon Robinson. ‘Our figures detail the considerable pace of growth taking place here in the UK and what exciting predictions and opportunities lie in the future.’
The production increase was due to last summer’s favourable weather conditions and to the growth in total vineyard area.
Indeed, the report highlights that the country’s area under vine (2,888ha) – 76% of which is planted to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Bacchus – has tripled since 2000. Even when compared to 2017 alone, Wine Intelligence found that the total vineyard area grew by 13%, with 1.6 million new vines planted.
Two million vines are expected to be planted within 2019 and nearly a third of the surveyed growers said they're planning further plantings over the next three years.
The growth could have positive effects on rural economy too, as WineGB is expecting the British winegrowing industry to generate between 20,000-30,000 new jobs over the next 20 years. ‘As a sector we are bringing many developments in agriculture, tourism, education, investment and employment,’ commented Robinson. ‘This is now a thriving and confident British industry, of which we can be justifiably proud.’
The expansion of land under vine is reflected in a significant sales growth: 2.6 million bottles were sold in 2018, nearly twice as much as the previous year. Exports are also on the up. In 2017, they accounted for a mere 4% of total sales; last year, their numbers doubled in size, led by the demand of markets in the US, Scandinavia and Asia.
According to WineGB, at this rate of growth exports could account for up to 40% of total British wine sold by 2040, and its economy could potentially be worth up to £350m per year.