British vineyards reach record high thanks to niche drinks demand

There's been a 13 per cent rise in UK wine producers since last year


English vinyard at Big boom in British vineyards thanks to niche drinks demand

It seems we really are a nation of wine-lovers as the number of British producers reached a record high last year - thanks to a demand in 'boutique' wine sparking a boom in vineyards.

According to the Telegraph, the number of wine producers in the UK hit 397 in 2016, up 13 per cent from 352 in 2015, according to research by accountancy group UHY Hacker Young. Back in 2012, there were just 287 UK wine producers.

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So what's fuelling the rise? The group said it's the same demand for 'boutique' drinks like craft ales that's also seen us turn away from International brands in favour of homegrown wine.

The current drinks trend is for local wine, with many of us swapping traditional favourites from France and New World wines, like New Zealand, for English produce.

Speaking to the Telegraph, James Simmonds of UHY Hacker Young, said "It is more of a talking point, more of an event, to order a Welsh wine than French, but it is not just novelty value, critics are giving English and Welsh wine higher and higher ratings."

Indeed, the Independent reports that wines produced in the UK have won a host of awards at international events in recent years, with Camel Valley's Pinot Noir Rosé, winning Gold at the Decanter World Wine Awards, and the Bolney Wine Estate's Pinot Gris 2016 wining the Top Still Wine award UK at the Wine Awards 2017.

One particularly famous example is the popularity of Chapel Down, a leading Kent wine producer that is an official supplier to Downing Street and whose sparkling wine is often served instead of Champagne.

The success of companies such as Chapel Down may have contributed to more entrepreneurs entering the market, which collectively registered a turnover of £132 million in 2015/16.

Are you a UK wine fan? Let us know in the comments below.

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