Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Brexit: Hush Heath reports rising demand post referendum

Published:  06 July, 2016

An English wine producer is in talks with a major UK retailer to significantly increase supply as a direct result of Brexit.

Richard Balfour-Lynn, founder of Hush Heath Estate in Kent, says he is already seeing an increased domestic demand for English wine in a post-referendum climate where import prices look set to soar.

He said: "There is so much negativity around Brexit, but there's going to be a big opportunity to get UK consumers drinking more English wine more as we're going to have a price advantage over the next few years. There's going to be the opportunity to be more competitive."

He is also determined to make the most of a "hugely beneficial" time for English exports, with plans already underway to grow their offering to outside the Eurozone.

The estate recently launched into Japan and is preparing for an October launch in the US.

"What Brexit has done is made us put more money into our export strategy. This is going to be a big focus for us going forward," Balfour-Lynn said.

Projections abound over the growth of English wine over the next five years, with exports widely believed to increase tenfold by 2020.

The Staplehurst estate currently has existing listings with Majestic, M&S and Tesco, but the Hush Heath entrepreneur says they are "pushing harder" to expand relationship with the UK's biggest retailers.

Less than two weeks after Brexit became a reality, Hush Heath is already in talks with a major retailer to increase their supply to between 60,000 and 100,000 extra bottles.

Balfour-Lynn added: "We need to be successful in the domestic market. As an industry we probably made £6 million bottles last year. The long-term projection is we'll be making up to 50 million in 10 years. We're going to become a significant industry."

The challenge, he says, is maintaining quality.

"We're still very young as an industry, and it's only now that we're seeing an improvement in our reputation. We as winemakers need to make sure quality doesn't slip as we grow."

He is calling on the government to support this shift in English wine's role by lowering the duty on exports.

"The possibilities are huge. If sterling has a lower value then clearly imports will be more expensive and exports less expensive. English wine is generally more expensive because of duty and labour costs, so the government now has the opportunity to support the English wine industry and lower export duty tariffs," he said.