January 20, 2022

LEARN MORE ABOUT ENGLISH WINE

By Rebecca Apley
LEARN MORE ABOUT ENGLISH WINE

What used to be a just curiosity has become a serious contender. English wine is part of a movement that has been growing over the last few decades. We have a long tradition of growing grapes to make wine, but in the 1950s and on into the 80s, the majority of our wine production was focused on typical German varieties, and wine was mostly still rather than sparkling. 

Nyetimber were pioneers of our current fashion for traditional method sparkling wine, and they were winning gold medals by 1997. Traditional method sparkling wines tend to be very like Champagne, and our similarity in climate and soil does help those same grapes flourish here - certainly those are the grapes we plant at Henners - Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Meunier. Lots of vineyards have done exactly the same.

English wine has gone from strength to strength since, with new waves of producers shaking things up, and wines getting better and better each year. This is nothing new though - we have had an influence on sparkling wine for as long as it’s been made! Even in the 17th Century our scientists were writing papers about the bottles that would make sparkling wines possible (and stop bottles exploding!), so next time you pop a cork, say cheers to Christopher Merret and Kenelm Digby. 

We always like to keep an eye on the facts and figures coming out of Wine GB, the body that helps oversee us, and promotes and encourages wine in Great Britain. We’ve pulled out some of the most exciting facts and figures from their press releases to share with you, and give you an overview of our expanding industry:

Did you know… 

Since 2000 - total area under vine in the UK has quadrupled, and in the last 10 years, it’s up by 150%. On top of this, 26% of grape growers are planning on planting more vines over the next three years. The only way is up!

We had approximately 3,500 hectares under vine in the UK - that’s over 8,600 football fields of vines! Of these vineyards, the vast majority are in the South East - we are in the warmest, driest pocket for growing vines - but there are vines all over the UK, with plenty in Wessex, East Anglia, and the West, and even vineyards as far North as Yorkshire! 

The UK doesn’t just sell to people locally and nationally - we export 10% of our wines collectively. English wines have a presence in markets like the USA, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, China, Australia, Canada, and more! Henners itself is sold all over the UK, but also in Finland, Latvia, and many other fabulous destinations for our wine to travel!

In 2019 5.5 million bottles of English wine were sold… this estimate may be rather generous, but Wine GB predicts that it won’t be too long before we hit 40 million!