Lesson 2: English wine sector growth

The number of vineyards and wineries in the UK continues to grow, but currently stands at 763 vineyards and 164 wineries (WineGB/Wine Intelligence, 2018). More vines are being planted each year and there has been a 79% increase since 2015.  There were 600k new vines planted in 2016, 1 million in 2017, 1.6 million in 2018 and 3 million in 2019, thus making it the fastest growing agricultural sector in the UK.

UK hectarage under vine and vineyard numbers (1989 – 2019)

Data source: (Food Standards Agency (FSA), 2019) and our team’s own research.

WineGB, the industry body, predicts that sales of English wine, currently at 13 million bottles (2018), could reach 40 million bottles with a retail value of £1 billion by 2040.

With a number of economic challenges in 2019/2020 from both Covid-19 and Brexit it was thought that the number of vineyard plantings in 2021 could be impacted. Although vineyard establishment companies are seeing significant numbers of enquiries for new vineyards providing evidence that the sector is set to continue its growth.

However, it must be noted at a recent WineGB conference (WineGB Marketing and Business Conference, January 2020) concerns were raised about the potential over-supply for English wine sales versus demand in the coming years with so many new plantings taking place and hence a significant increase in supply. This could have an impact on the current anticipated growth in the sector.