Winegrowing in the United Kingdom is essentially confined to England and Wales (see also Brecqhou) which are in the throes of a wine-growing boom (see below). Investors both local and foreign (eg. deep-pocketed Champagne houses) have been piling in, tempted by tax incentives for land that is being farmed, and a belief that ‘global warming’ will make wine-growing more commercially viable in the UK’s cool, damp, blustery climes. However climate change may in fact cause the UK to become cooler and wetter due to more variable North Atlantic atmospheric circulation which affects the North Atlantic jet stream.
John Atkinson MW told me ‘as vines are Mediterranean plants they are kick started by the onset of summer weather patterns. In the UK, summer weather patterns are slow to establish, and therefore the vegetative cycle lags. This lag can cause flowering to occur a month later than in Central France. Current climate trends are leading to hotter summers in the UK, but springs are still long and erratic; bud-burst may be occurring slightly earlier, but the frequency of frosts has remained virtually unchanged.’
Vineyard area & wine production
2017: The UK vineyard area doubled between 2009 and 2017 to approximately 2,330 hectares (5,755 acres) under vine (Source: English Wine Producers, Decanter, August 2017). In 2017 around one million new vines were due to be planted in England and Wales, the biggest number ever, meaning the UK vineyard area would expand by 18% to around 2,650 hectares (6,545 acres) (Stephen Skelton MW, personal communication).
2016: UK Annual production of 4.15 million bottles included approximately 2.74 million bottles of sparkling (Source: English Wine Producers, Decanter, August 2017).
2015: The UK had 503 commercial vineyards, 133 wineries (Source: English Wine Producers, Decanter, August 2017). Annual production in 2015 of 5.06 million bottles of which approximately 3.34 million bottles of sparkling (Source: English Wine Producers, Decanter, August 2017).
2014: Annual UK production was 6.3 million bottles of which approximately 4.15 million bottles of sparkling (Source: English Wine Producers, Decanter, August 2017).
2013: Annual production of 4.45 million bottles of which approximately 2.94 million bottles of sparkling (Source: English Wine Producers, Decanter, August 2017).
2011: In an interview in The Drinks Business (105, April 2011), p.67) Stephen Skelton MW told Graham Holter that the UK vineyard surface area was around 1,500 hectares (3,705 acres) in total, with around 70% of production controlled by 17% of vineyards, and that the UK had 180 vineyards of less than 1 hectare (2.47 acres), with the vast majority (386) fewer than 5 hectares (12.3 acres) in size, with 37 between 5 and 10 hectares (12-25 acres), and only 18 bigger than this. In the same article Julia Trustram Eve of English Wine Producers said Champagne grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier) accounted for nearly half of the UK vineyard.
2009: In 2009 At least 100 hectares (247 acres) of vines were planted in England and Wales in 2009, bringing the total to around 1,350 hectares (3,334 acres) (Stephen Skelton MW, perso).
2008: 1,106 hectares (2,731 acres) in production officially, with a total planted area estimated at nearer 1,250 hectares (3,087 acres), the difference between the two figures being newly planted vines not yet in full production (Stephen Skelton MW, perso).
Counties: Berkshire. | Cheshire. | East Sussex. | Essex. | Gloucestershire. | Hampshire. | Kent. | Norfolk. | Oxfordshire. | Somerset. | Suffolk. | Surrey. | West Sussex. | Wiltshire. | Worcestershire.
Certified Biodynamic: Albury Organic Vineyard (Surrey). | Ancre Hill (Monmouthshire, Wales). | Avonleigh Orchards (). | Battle Wine Estate. | Bodiam (). Bugsell Park. | Laverstoke Park Farm (Hampshire). | Limeburn Hill (Somerset). | Quoins. | Sedlescombe.
Other: Adgestone (Hampshire). | Astley (Worcestershire). | Barton Manor (Hampshire). | Beaulieu Abbey (Hampshire). | Biddenden (Kent). | Carden Park (Cheshire). | Carr Taylor (East Sussex). | Chiltern Valley (Oxfordshire). | Denbies (Surrey). | Fonthill (Wiltshire). | Headcorn (Kent). | High Weald (East Sussex). | Lamberhurst (Kent). | Moorlynch (Somerset). | New Hall (Essex). | Nutbourne Manor (West Sussex). | Pulham (Norfolk). | Rock Lodge (West Sussex). | Shawsgate (Suffolk). | Tenterden (Kent). | Three Choirs (Gloucestershire). | Wellow (Hampshire). | Westbury (Berkshire). | Wickham (Hampshire). | Wootton (Somerset).