News released this week from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) indicated that in many countries around the globe wine production volumes have decreased significantly. Provisional figures indicate that overall production levels may be the lowest for over 60 years. 

There is a combination of factors that has affected the global grape harvest. With so many countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres experiencing catastrophic weather events during 2023 the news that global wine production has suffered should not be surprising but the extent to which production figures have fallen is perhaps a surprise.

The figures do highlight countries that buck the trend, among them are France, Germany and Romania. Estimates from the USA also indicate a production increase over 2022 and an increase on the five year average. (For full details visit the website of the OIV which celebrates its centenary in 2024.) 

Vineyard magazine has been sent details of numerous harvests from around England and these reports indicate that England and Wales may also be among those countries that buck the trend of shrinking harvests. Official figures and reports will be collated in the coming months but Vineyard magazine would like to thank all those producers that have sent early details of harvest figures.

Record-breaking harvest

Langham Wine Estate.

After setting a vineyard record of 99 tonnes in the perfect conditions of 2022, the team at the Langham Wine Estate knew it was possible to increase yields from their Dorset vineyards but they never imagined it would be as much as 123 tonnes!

 As the last grapes were picked, owner Justin Langham admitted to being very worried about the estate’s 13th harvest after experiencing challenging weather in the south west for the last three months and a very wet summer.

Justin said due diligence and hard work won the day: “After 17 days of picking, pressing, pumping and now fermenting, the winery is absolutely full to capacity with grape juice on its journey to becoming Dorset sparkling wine. It has been a mammoth effort from the winery and vineyard teams and I couldn’t be more proud of the work they’ve done.”

 A team of 16 pickers brought in Langham’s record-breaking harvest of 123 tonnes, up from 99 tonnes in 2022 and 55 in 2021.

Last year, Langham Wine Estate expanded its vineyard from 30 to 85 acres in a bid to keep up with the growing demand for English sparkling wine. The first harvest from the new planting is expected in 2024/25.

Most expansive harvest


Nyetimber, the world-renowned English sparkling wine producer is delighted to share the remarkable accomplishment of its most expansive harvest to date. The 2023 harvest season has set new records for Nyetimber in terms of both the number of grapes picked and the area of vineyards harvested.

Taking place over 21 days, Nyetimber 2023 harvest produced an average yield of 9.7 tonnes per hectare from its 350 hectares spanning across its 11 vineyards in West Sussex, Hampshire, and Kent. Nyetimber’s uncompromising dedication to quality, craftsmanship, and excellence remained at the heart of this year’s harvest process, with its meticulous attention to detail apparent in its parcel-by-parcel approach and careful handling of its 100% estate-owned hand-picked grapes.

“This year, the weather predominantly cooperated during harvest season and was somewhat of a secondary consideration for the most part, allowing us to get on with our jobs. As with everyone involved in viticulture, we did experience some challenging moments with rain and wind, but through teamwork and determination, we achieved what we set out to do,” said Senior Winemaker Brad Greatrix. “A start date of October 6th is more or less in line with our long-term average. Over the course of the growing season various parts were warmer or cooler than average, meaning at various times our vines were either ahead or behind compared to normal, but on aggregate we ended the season with ‘typical’ timings. Thankfully, at the most crucial moments of the season, including budburst and flowering, the weather was quite favourable for our vines, and we have a large and balanced crop.”

Toast to largest ever yield

The Uncommon.

Canned wine pioneer The Uncommon toasts to its largest ever yield as it becomes one of the top producers of English wine.

The first to can wine in the UK in 2018, The Uncommon created its English Bubbly White ‘Gerald’ with just 5 tonnes of Bacchus grapes. This year, it is expected to press over 400 tonnes.

The Uncommon’s Head of Production, Phil Norman said: “It’s an unbelievable yield. 2022 flower initiation set the potential, so the lack of spring frost, a warm flowering and plenty of soil moisture this year has culminated in a bumper crop.”

Alongside its 15ha vineyard in Kent, The Uncommon works with long-term growing partners across the south of England which increases the complexity of the wines. In 2021, it became the UK’s first Certified B Corp wine, owing to its local production, sustainable format, and support of local conservation projects.

A huge crop

Albury Organic Vineyard.

The 2023 grape harvest is complete and the team at Albury Organic Vineyard in Surrey are celebrating a huge crop.

Predictions of a ‘great year’ for English winemakers started back in May, when spring arrived and passed with minimum frost damage. A very wet July saw the berries swell with water but also led to concern that mildew would hit the fruit, a potential disaster for the Albury team who manage their vineyard organically. 

“Warm weather is crucial to ensure that a large crop is also a quality one. At one stage we were worried that all the rain would cause disease and, as we’re an organic vineyard, we can’t rely on systemic sprays to combat this” said vineyard owner Nick. “The September sunshine was a welcome relief and we’re delighted that the 2023 harvest has turned out to be exceptional both in terms of quantity and quality”.

Harvest began at the beginning of October and took place over three weeks of glorious sunshine and blue skies. With so many grapes to pick, the Albury team were lucky to have a record number of willing volunteers from the Albury wine club and the local community wanting to lend a hand with the grape picking.

A group of volunteers joined Nick and his vineyard managers to make a ‘Pied de Cuve’. “This involved picking a few buckets of Chardonnay grapes, de-stemming the berries and crushing them by hand” explains Nick. “We left the juice to ferment from wild yeasts found naturally occurring in the vineyard, giving the wine a ‘sense of place’ or ‘terroir’ as the French would say. 10 days later, we added the fermenting Pied de Cuve to the rest of the Chardonnay which continues fermenting in the winery – not in a barrel or tank, but in a concrete egg. As far as we know, we’re one of only two producers in the UK making wine in eggs!” 

In total, Albury harvested nearly 54 tonnes of fruit from their vineyards. “We’re likely to produce around 45,000 bottles of wine from the 2023 vintage. Most of these won’t be ready for drinking until 2026 but we look forward to releasing our still wine – Silent Pool Rosé in May,” concluded Nick.

A seismic shift for the industry

Balfour Winery.

Balfour Winery, one of England’s largest producers, believes that 2023 could represent a seismic shift for the industry, after a record-breaking harvest which could create new opportunities for English Wine; both in this country and abroad. 

From their vineyards in Kent, plus their estates in Essex and Sussex, Balfour will produce over 870,000 bottles in 2023 – a 132% increase on 2022 (375,000 bottles) and far beyond any other previous record in their 21 year history. 

Many English vineyards have seen increased yields this year after a wet summer and dry autumn provided perfect grape growing conditions, and Balfour believes that the legacy of the 2023 harvest could be felt for years to come, especially for English Wines abroad. Figures from industry body WineGB show that in 2023 only 7% of the wine produced in this country is exported – but with more wine now available, this could soon change. 

Balfour is now targeting in excess of one million bottles per annum within the next five years, as further plantings come into production and vineyards come to maturity. 

But it’s not just quantity, Headwinemaker Fergus Elias at Balfour argues, which marks this year out. Whilst much of England’s fledgling wine reputation is based around Sparkling Wines – 2023 could see a rise in more still wines and, in particular, English Chardonnay being drunk in the UK and beyond.

“In 2023 we’ve seen a real surge of interest in English Chardonnay and we have even secured a fantastic export deal to Norway for our Skye’s Chardonnay 2022. We predict that trend will continue to grow, as this year’s harvest has seen some of the best Chardonnay I’ve ever been lucky enough to work with,” he explained.