Figures released from HMRC suggest that a record amount of English and Welsh wine was released from under bond last year (see page 11),  but how can producers and the trade ensure that these sales continue to be buoyant in the long run, and how can we ensure awareness of the sector is increased among the wine drinking general public? This month Vineyard looks at the following steps:

Better together

Attending the Vineyards of Hampshire tasting back in February, it was enlightening to see a group of producers on each other’s door steps working tirelessly together to promote the overall benefits of the region’s wines to the trade, before highlighting their estate’s own unique character. This month also witnessed the launch of Sussex Wineries, (see page 12) and there are plenty of other collaborative groups cropping up in areas such as Kent, and the Surrey Hills. Welsh producers are now working with a consultant who will co-ordinate the nation’s marketing activities. Making friends with neighbours, working together, sharing knowledge and pooling resources, can be a lucrative way to achieve more in terms of awareness with the general public. If we want more people drinking English and Welsh wine that is the way forward.

What makes you different?

Vineyards across Great Britain have a unique story to share and knowing what makes you different can help to engage customers. It gives the trade something exciting to talk about too. Looking beyond the ‘romantic’ stories of how the vineyard started, this month’s editor’s visit to Albury Organic Vineyard, (see page 18) looks at how tapping into a seemingly crazy concept of biodynamic vineyard management in the UK has enabled the estate to not only increase and protect biodiversity, but being able to sell into a niche organics markets has helped them stand out from the crowd.

Take part

After the Wines of Great Britain trade tasting in April, the next big industry event that producers and the trade should be preparing for is the English Wine Week and Welsh Wine Week campaigns. These campaigns have in the past provided excellent platforms to increase public awareness and impact on sales. Turn to page 26 for tips and ideas on how to participate.

Go global

For producers who have already become well established in the UK and whose throughput is large enough to make it worthwhile, starting to look at exporting can help to feed the global curiosity and demand for English and Welsh wines. Starting this process early may also help in the long run as the domestic market becomes increasingly saturated. On page 42, Vineyard speaks to Red Johnson from the British Bottling Company about what the key things producers should consider before leaping into global markets.

– Victoria Rose