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Record breaking year for bottles of English and Welsh wine

Published:  03 April, 2018

A record number of bottles of English and Welsh wines were released onto the market last year, according to new HMRC data.

The significant investment into UK vineyards in the past decade has born fruit with the release of UK sparkling and still wines released onto the market totalling a record 3.86 million - up 64% on the previous year, according to the new data released by the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

This compares to 2.36 million bottles released in 2016, while in 2000 just 1.34 million bottles were released from bond since when the numbers have steadily risen with some years faring better than others, said the WSTA.

“English wine releases reached a record high in 2017 with more varietals and vintages available, giving consumers a greater choice than ever before. This is great news for English winemakers who have been gaining international recognition over the past few years, leading to an impressively stocked trophy cabinet,” said Miles Beale, chief executive, WSTA.

With the “high quality of English now so widely recognised”, the wine industry’s newest challenge was meeting growing demand, he added.

“The English wine industry is a true British success story and has ambitious plans to increase exports. We hope to see production continue to grow and forge ahead with new export opportunities,” he said.

Having gained global recognition for its quality in recent years, sparkling wine accounts for 66% of all English and Welsh wine produced (WSTA).

Not only did English vineyards have a bumper harvest in 2014, but last year saw several vineyards release of a range of special edition and older vintage wines.

The growth in output from the English wine sector is set for a further boost this year when the UK’s largest single estate vineyard releases its first sparkling wine.

Next month Rathfinny Wine Estate in Sussex will launch its sparkling, Blanc de Blancs, after bottling its first wine in May 2015. The family run wine estate will increase the English wine portfolio and aims to eventually reach production of over 80,000 cases by 2025.