According to HMRC figures, a record number of bottles of English and Welsh wine were released onto the market last year.
Based on duty paid figures, 3.86 million bottles of sparkling and still wine made in UK vineyards were recorded as released for sale in 2017, which was up 64% on 2016 when 2.36 million bottles were released from bond.
The sector’s huge investment into the planting of more vines, combined with a bumper harvest in 2014 and the industry preference to age traditional method sparkling wine for an average of three years has facilitated this increase. Last year also saw several vineyards release a range of special edition and older vintage wines.
“English wine releases reached a record high in 2017 with more varietals and vintages available, giving consumers a greater choice than ever before,” said Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association. “This is great news for English winemakers who have been gaining international recognition over the past few years. With the high quality of English and Welsh wine now so widely recognised, the wine industry’s newest challenge is meeting growing demand. The English and Welsh wine industry is a true success story and has ambitious plans to increase exports. We hope to see production continue to grow and forge ahead with new export opportunities.”