2015 Production Figures for UK Wine Industry Announced
11th May 2016
The latest production figures from England and Wales have just been announced by the Wine Standards Branch (Food Standards Agency).
The Wine Standards Branch (WSB) is the body currently responsible for compiling the production declarations and holding the vineyards register for the UK wine industry, reporting harvest and vineyard figures to DEFRA.
The 2015 harvest was, as predicted, lower than the record-breaking vintage of 2016, coming in at the very respectable bottle equivalent of 5.06m bottles (37,977 hectolitres). This lower figure was due to the cooler conditions over the growing season in 2015, which also produced smaller grapes. Warmer weather picked up towards the autumn which helped ripen the grapes up to harvest, but on average, producers harvested up to 10 days later than they would normally anticipate.
This longer ripening period helped develop some attractive qualities in the fruit. Overall, good quality grapes and flavours were produced; some were challenged with higher acidity and lower sugars but will prove ideal for sparkling wine production.
The average production taken over the last three years shows the ongoing growth in production overall in the UK – averaging at 5.27m bottles per year. This is very much in line with predictions of growth and reflects the increased production from hectarage currently planted.
Plantings also continue to rise, with WSB reporting total area under vine at 1956 hectares. The number of vineyards have also increased, with 502 commercial vineyards registered – 470 were recorded in the 2013 figures. The figures published for 2015 are calculated from 121 production declarations, which represent an 89% return rate.
“These figures illustrate the steady but strong growth of the industry, and 2015 is still the second highest volume recorded,” states Barry Lewis, CEO of The United Kingdom Vineyards Association. “The good news is that despite the lower volume, remains that the quality is looking to be very good and in line with industry predictions.”
The breakdown of production of still and sparkling remains approximately one-third to two-thirds.
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