English Wine in 2008


I wonder if 2008 will be as good as 2007 was for English Wine?

The year has certainly started well with the lifting of the European Union planting ban. This was put in place in 1999 to compensate for the excessive volumes of low quality wine being produced elsewhere in the EU. It prevented the UK from any new planting of vines once production had got to a certain threshhold. This lifting of the ban should help the UK’s dynamic and growing quality wine industry in the medium to long term.

Perversely the lifting of the ban may also specifically benefit the French. 2008 could be the year the champenois actually buy some land in Southern England. With restrictions on the expansion of the champagne AC region, the champenois have been rumoured for a while to be keenly eying up parts of Kent, Surrey and Sussex. Trade publications and newspapers have been full of rumour and conjecture for a while. With land in France commanding 300k GBP per hectare and land in England only 10k GBP per hectare who can blame the French. This can only be good news for wine related jobs.

However the French don’t have the monopoly on producing quality sparkling wine. 2007 was another good year for English sparkling wine in the major wine competitions including the International Wine Challenge and the Decanter World Wine Awards. There is no reason to believe that 2008 will be any different as the skills and experience of UK winemakers and grape growers flourish. With a global shortage of champagne predicted, English sparkling wine could well reap the benefit.

Consumers also are stepping out of their comfort zones, putting aside preconceptions and buying more English wine. Waitrose reported sales of English wine up 120% year on year. With increased consumer focus in 2008 on where food and drink comes from, how it is made and the cost to the environment, English wine sales should continue to thrive.

Now all we need is good weather…..

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Reader Comments

Hi Colin,

I don’t think that this year is going to prove too spectacular for English wines, if the summer rain is any kind of indication. It’s a shame, because I think that 2007 was a very good one.