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Things hotting up for English wine following record-breaking summer

Published:  12 October, 2018

Producers are calling 2018’s harvest the “harvest of the century” after unusually warm climes descended on Britain this summer and autumn.

David Parkinson, CEO of WineGB, has declared exciting opportunities await the UK wine industry following this year’s “ideal growing conditions”.

This is in stark contrast to last year’s frostbitten growing season, with some, like Bolney Wine Estate in Sussex reporting 83% increase in yield in terms of bottles produced compared to 2017.

“This year’s extraordinary harvest…comes at a time when there is so much uncertainty around Brexit, particularly in the agricultural sector and is a real boost for the country,” Parkinson said.

“With the rise in rural employment that we are likely to see over the next 20 years, the growth in wine tourism that will result from the expansion of wineries across the country and the continuing increase in exports, the future of the UK wine industry looks very bright indeed.”

We are likely to see more of this extreme weather, some and ideal and some not so ideal, as the thermostat of the UK rises in line with global temperatures.

As the guardian reported in the summer, June and July’s heatwave made Britain so hot and dry that Indonesia-style peat fires raged across our moorlands.

Globally, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that the last 18 years of the 21st century are among the 19 warmest on record; and 2016 was the warmest year ever recorded.

Mediterranean-type conditions look set to become even more of a reality in the south, where the majority of British wine is produced.

But as 2017 showed, devastating frosts and record-breaking summers can often sit side by side.

This year however, the weather turned out to be a boon for the English wine industry.

WineGB reports that some winemakers started to harvest in September and others are still picking.

Producers report clean, ripe grapes with concentrated fruit, good sugars and acidity level, with vastly increased yields compared to last year.

Last year’s total volume sat at around 6 million bottles.

The 2018 vintage is likely to be at least twice, if not three times the size, WineGb predicts.