UK Winemakers Celebrate Harvest of the Century

17th October 2018


Wine producers across the UK are hailing 2018 the harvest of the century following a record-breaking summer and an unusually warm autumn resulting in excellent quality grapes with high yields.

David Parkinson, CEO, WineGB, comments:

This year’s extraordinary harvest offers the UK wine industry so many exciting opportunities. It comes at a time when there is so much uncertainty around Brexit, particularly in the agricultural sector and is a real boost for the country. With the rise in rural employment that we are likely to see over the next 20 years, the growth in wine tourism that will result from the expansion of wineries across the country and the continuing increase in exports, the future of the UK wine industry looks very bright indeed.”

Some winemakers started to harvest in September and others are still picking now but all are reporting clean, ripe grapes with concentrated fruit, good sugars and acidity levels, thanks to the ideal growing conditions. Producers across the country are predicting an excellent year for English still wines, particularly red wines. The unusually hot, dry summer has resulted in very ripe fruit with concentrated flavours which should translate into some very exciting still wines. The outlook is just as positive for sparkling wine producers on both the quality and quantity front.

 Many producers are reporting at least double the volume they harvested in 2017 which was a particularly challenging year for many, due to the early frosts which affected many wine regions across Europe. With last year’s total volume at around 6 million bottles, the 2018 vintage is likely to be at least twice, if not three times the size. Whilst is far too early to predict actual volumes at this stage, WineGB will be conducting a vineyard survey in the first quarter of 2019.

Bolney Wine Estate, Sussex – Sam Linter, owner and winemaker
This year’s harvest is looking phenomenal for Bolney, in terms of quality and quantity, seeing an increase of 83% in yield of bottles produced.  This seems similar countrywide.”

Hattingley Valley Vineyards, Hampshire – Simon Robinson, owner 
“The ideal growing conditions we have enjoyed have led to this being a fantastic year for us, with almost all our suppliers delivering record yields. We pressed around 180 tonnes in 2017 but this year will probably be 650-700 tonnes when we have finished. Encouragingly, the hot sunny weather also means the quality of the grapes is excellent with high sugars, good acids and virtually no disease.”year’s air frost which decimated the vines. I think it reflects the extreme weather patterns experienced around the world possibly as result of global warming. There is no doubt that all the wineries in Kent have benefitted enormously from the weather and all are producing record harvests.”

Lyme Bay Vineyard, Devon – Liam Idzikowski, winemaker
“2018 is a fantastic year for the still and sparkling winemakers of England and Wales. But for those who have planted in the right places and have dared to aim for still, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay have seen something really special, with incredible flavours and balance that should produce world-class still wines.”   

Polgoon Vineyard, Cornwall – Clare Woodhouse
“Our harvest has been fantastic this year.  We’ve had about 50% more fruit on the vines and great sugar levels. We’ve also had record numbers on our vineyard tours – well over 2000 visitors.”

Giffords Hall, Suffolk – Linda Howard, owner
Here at Giffords Hall, we are 60% up on last year, getting back to longer term averages. It has been a benign year – lovely quality with high volumes, no disease, and exceptionally high sugars and acidity – just about perfect, with the added bonus of a fair-weather harvest.”

Glass of Bubbly

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