A long way to go

Despite having visited countless English and Welsh wine producers since Vineyard magazine launched in January 2018, the individuality of each brand, site and owner never ceases to amaze me. There is rarely a set way of doing things in the UK wine sector and there is often so much depth, passion and inspiration to be discovered behind each cellar door. 

This month was no different. It is clear that the McConnells at Bluestone Vineyard in Wiltshire, see page 16, are carefully carving their own path in this exciting industry, taking the time to figure out what works best for their vineyard and how to avoid becoming just another contract-made English sparkling wine brand.

As the UK’s fastest growing agricultural sector and one of the most up and coming wine regions in the world, there is no doubt that English and Welsh wine producers are enjoying a golden age. There is, however, still such a long way to go and the generic marketing strategy unveiled by Wines of Great Britain, see page 26, highlights how much work is left to be done to secure a sustainable future for home-grown wine sales.

The willingness to collaborate with, offer support to and generally help fellow producers along the way has always been one of the industry’s most admirable traits and is undoubtedly one of the reasons for its growing success. I was once again reminded of how incredibly tight-knit we all are at the UK’s second annual pruning competition, see page 30. The abysmal weather failed to dampen spirits, with competitors and supporters fuelling a warm, friendly and sociable home-from-home atmosphere post-match in Tinwood’s recently developed restaurant.

Vineyard magazine has always aimed to shine a spotlight on the people, producers, suppliers and supporters whose drive, commitment and acuity, who make the UK wine region the innovative, exuberant and zealous place it is today. While this is sadly my last edition as editor of Vineyard magazine, over the years the UK viticulture industry has become a second family and I will forever be committed to supporting everyone within this captivating sector.