UK wine industry is bubbling with confidence

Historically, the UK may not be famous for its wine production, but that’s set to change. This year, British wine producers will plant a record one million vines, which will give growers the tools to make two million more bottles of wine a year. Ideal Wine Company delves into the revelation.

It’s clear that wine is now one of the most impressive and fastest improving agricultural products in the country. During the last decade, according to reports from the English Wine Producers trade body, the grapevines planted in England and Wales have increased by around 135 per cent.

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Will England see more vineyards?

New planters all over the south of England

One of the biggest new vineyards is at Rathfinny wine estate in East Sussex. Close to Afriston, this vineyard has around 400 acres currently under cultivation. It’s owned by Mark Driver, who used to be a hedge fund manager in London. He intends to release the vineyard’s first sparkling wine next year (2018).

Other new planters include two huge champagne houses from France, Vrankin-Pommery Monopole and Taittinger. They’ve announced big wine projects in the south of England in Hampshire and Canterbury.

New UK wine awards introduced for 2017

Due to all of these exciting innovations within the UK, brand new annual wine awards have been introduced. Aimed at finding the UK’s finest wines, the awards are another sign of the industry’s prosperity.

One of the world’s biggest threats seems to have helped improve the growing season in England – global warming. The industry is now viable across the south of England, in some parts of the east and as far as Wales. It’s not the only reason that vineyards are able to be planted now though.

Technology is improving all the time and this is a big factor in the industry’s expansion. Wine growers use meters that can work out grape sugar levels so that wine growers can decide the best time to harvest the grapes. Better weather reports due to improving technology in that area also help the growers and wine makers to work within the famously changeable weather systems in the UK.

Consumers happy to spend more on UK wines

There’s also been a move from consumers to buying more expensive wines, meaning people are happier to buy English wines, which typically start at £10 a bottle. Typical prices for the best sparkling wines, like Nvetimber from West Sussex, sell for around £35.

UK wines have been selling more and more since 2000, with top tier supermarkets such as Marks & Spencer and Waitrose now stocking dozens of different Welsh and English wines. Restaurants are helping the increase in sales too, as English wines are becoming more popular across the board.

Rob Graves is the head of wine and food buying at Harvey Nichols, arguably one of the finest retailers in England. He said: “Sales have been steadily increasing since 2011, but in 2016 we saw a peak in interest. Our customers are hugely supportive of this category and are keen to taste wines from lesser known producers.” Harvey Nichols has recently added four new producers and 15 new English wines to its shelves, from Litmus and Witson, Hattingley Valley and Gusbourne.

It seems the UK wine industry is set to grow and grow.

Millennials drink most wine in US

New figures suggest that millennials have become the biggest wine drinkers in the US, consuming nearly half of America’s supply of our favourite vintage last year.

Changing habits

Figures indicate that UK consumers are buying more wine online. For example, data from Rabobank suggested that UK wine sales increased by a staggering 11% in the first quarter of 2015. Explaining this trend, Rabobank attributed it to millennials who have grown up using the internet, with the firm calling this age group an “increasingly wine-drinking demographic.”

But millennials aren’t just making their presence felt in the UK wine market. Experts have forecasted that US wine consumption will rise by 11% from 2014 – 2018 and they attribute this increase largely to the growing millennial market. Defined as people aged 21 – 38, at present there are around 79 million millennials across the United States of America.

Millenials Drinking America’s wine

A new study from the Wine Market Council, an industry non-profit organisation, has shown how millennials are influencing the American wine market. News site USA Today reported that the Wine Market Council found that millennials drank an unbelievable 42% of US wine last year – far more than any other generation.

The study found that millennials consumed a staggering two cases of wine per person, on average, in 2015. Millennials now comprise 30% of high frequency US drinkers – those who drink wine several times a week. Gen xer’s (those aged 39-50) accounted for just 20% of high frequency drinkers and baby boomers (aged 51-69) made up 38%, so millennials are now the second biggest high frequency wine drinking age group.

Meanwhile, the study noted that as millennials grow older, “they’re settling into eclectic wines that may cost more.” The Wine Market Council found that while among all age groups only 10% of the US population had paid over $20 for a bottle of wine in the past month, this rose to 17% for millennials.

Sup on fine wine

In other words, the Wine Market Council study indicated that as wine enthusiasts mature, they come to realise the benefits of splurging on a bottle of decently priced fine wine. If you want to find a truly luxurious vintage to sup on in 2016, why don’t you purchase the Chateau Lafleur 1990 from the Ideal Wine Company? A first-rate vintage of the highest quality, this Bordeaux red will blow you away!