English vineyards reach record high

The amount of land under vine in England has grown by more than 60% in just five years, according to the latest figures from the Wine Standards Branch of the Food Standards Agency.

The branch’s report found that there were 419 vineyards in production in 2011 – up from 404 the year before. The land covered 1,384ha, up 4.5% from 2010. The average size of a vineyard has grown from 2.6ha in 2006 to 3.3ha in 2011.

Production in 2011 reached 3 million bottles – a drop from 4.1 million in 2010, which saw a record-breaking vintage. But vineyards across the country reported superb fruit quality last year.

There have been more plantings of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Bacchus – with Chardonnay showing the highest increase, reflecting continued growth in sparkling wine production, particularly in the south. More traditional varieties such as Müller Thurgau have continued to decline.

The news came as English Wine Producers announced it had revamped its branding with a new logo and a new strapline: Promoting the Fine Wines of England.

Marketing director Julia Trustram Eve said: “EWP’s role is to support its members and the logo reflects this. We’ve gone for understated elegance – just like the wines we work with.”

A new EWP website is also in the pipeline.

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