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WineGB tasting looks to capitalise on rising sales

Published:  15 August, 2022

WineGB will be returning to London this September for a celebration of all things English wine – including another year of rising sales.

The annual event, which comprises a trade and press tasting, promises to shine a spotlight on the expanding fortunes of English and Welsh wine when it returns via Lindley Hall on September 6.

A mix of newcomers to the industry and established names will both exhibit across producer and free-pour tables – the latter of which will include a focus on sparkling and single varietal still white wines.

As usual, there will also be a tasting table showing the recently announced WineGB Awards 2022 Trophy Winning Wines.

The event follows another year of promising sales for UK wines domestically and abroad. In 2021 alone,  9.3m bottles were sold, up from 7.1m bottles in 2020 and 5.5m bottles in 2019 (WineGB figures). 

Production however, has shown an inverse trend. Production reached a peak of 13.2m bottles in 2018 – a bumper year for English wine. Things then slid to 10.5m bottles in 2019, 8.7m bottles in 2020 and 8.95m bottles in 2021 – all because of the weather. Production is “very weather related” a representative said.

There are a total of 66 grape varieties planted in the UK. However, the top 10 varieties lead with Chardonnay (1,179ha), Pinot Noir (1,164ha, including 63ha of Frühburgunder / Pinot Noir Précoce) and Pinot Meunier (327ha). Together, these three varieties make up 71% of total plantings, with the next varieties on the list followed by Bacchus (264ha) and Seyval Blanc (117ha). Solaris, Reichensteiner, Rondo, Pinot Gris and Müller-Thurgau all have less than under 100ha each.

WineGB chief executive Simon Thorpe MW will be adding to this picture at the event, when results from the body’s latest industry report will be revealed in a ‘state of the nation’ style update.

“The spotlight has never been greater on English and Welsh wines. This tasting is a great opportunity for us to share all the exciting developments in the industry, and for visitors to taste the wealth and breadth of styles now being produced by this most dynamic of wine producing regions. We are at a particularly exciting time for the industry as sales continue to increase, exports are growing, and as we start to cement a culture of wine tourism in the UK,” Thorpe said.

Guests can also expect a focus on sustainability on the day of the Wine GB tasting. Off the back of growing awareness around sustainability issues – and climate action – this year, a spotlight will be firmly placed on Sustainable Wines of Great Britain (SWGB) – the industry’s sustainability programme launched by WineGB.

The SWGB feature will provide further insight into the scheme, with a focus to be placed on the wines that have already achieved SWGB accreditation.

There will be no printed tasting catalogue this year. Instead, WineGB is producing a digital only catalogue which will also allow visitors to research exhibitors and wines ahead of the event.

“We are particularly excited to be working with Bottle Books this year to provide a more comprehensive way of accessing information on the wines, producers and other tasting features,” head of marketing, Julia Trustram Eve said.

“It will allow us to enhance the visitor experience both on the day and well after the event has taken place. Importantly, from a sustainability perspective it is reducing our reliance on paper and avoiding wastage.”

WineGB Trade & Press Tasting will take place on Tuesday 6 September from 10.30am to 5.30pm at RHS Lindley Hall, London, SW1P 2PB. To register, click here.