With its annual trade and press tasting taking place today in central London, the English Wine Producers announced its 2016 UK harvest figures.
Revealing a dip in overall volume, but a 'high quality' vintage, the overall production figures show that 31,116 hectolitres were produced, equivalent to 4.15m bottles. This volume is below the current 'average' annual production of 5m bottles.
Getting off to a slow start, 2016 finished with great weather, as winemakers reported excellent quality wines from all varieties.
After the below average harvest, this year is set to be 'the year of a million vines' - no prizes for guessing why. It is the highest number of vines planted in a single year in the UK and will bring the total hectarage from 2077ha to 2330ha.
Acreage has more than doubled in the last decade, and nearly tripled since 2000, making wine production one of the fastest growing agricultural sectors in the UK.
It's not all good news. The UK, with most of Europe, has been hit by a destructive frost. With the extent of the damage still being assessed, some have reported widespread damage, other sites have reported only partial damage, and in some cases vineyards have been completely unaffected.
'The recent frost has obviously been very disappointing, particularly given the good start to this year’s growing season,' comments Simon Robinson, chairman of English Wine Producers.
'As with all agriculture, there are very productive years and some 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.'
More from the English Wine Producers annual tasting to follow...