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Treasury Secretary says English wine has 'bright future'

Published:  02 June, 2011

Treasury Secretary Justine Greening believes English wine has a "bright future".

On a visit to Kent's Chapel Down winery today, Greening, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury said English wine was becoming a "real success story".

She said the reason for her visit in English Wine Week, was to "find out a bit more about vineyards like Chapel Down and smaller brewers".

On the Tenterden estate she met with Frazer Thompson, chief executive of Chapel Down; Robert Wicks, managing director of Westerham Brewery; WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles and Julian Barnes, managing director of Biddenden Vineyards.

"English wine is becoming a real success story for us, and I wanted to find out a bit more I was keen to find out how they work and what the government can do to support and develop them," said Greening.

"It really does feel like the industry's got a bright future, which is good for local economies, the economy overall, and of course, the Treasury," she added.

Beadles said there was "significant demand for English wine", adding that this works in favour of producers. He said there had been a shift in attitudes of consumers who no longer had prejudices about English wine.

Thompson, whose vines are currently 15 days ahead of schedule, was hopeful that Greening could answer questions on the complexity and inconsistencies of the duty system, including why sparkling wine had a different rate of duty to still wine.

Chapel Down's sparkling Rosé Vintage Reserve Brut NV recently picked up a gold award at this year's International Wine Challenge.