The UK wine industry is celebrating a corker 2015 with a pledge for a tenfold increase in exports by 2020, helping to increase their value to over £30 million.
The Environment Secretary, Elizabeth Truss MP, has called the first ever wine roundtable to bring together producers and leading wine industry representatives to celebrate the worldwide success of UK wine, and agree to boost future production and open up new export opportunities.
The wine industry’s new targets include:
- A tenfold increase in wine exports, increasing from 250,000 bottles to 2.5 million bottles by 2020. In terms of value, this would be an export increase from £3.2 million to over £30 million by 2020
- An ambition to grow the area of planted vineyards from 2000 hectares to 3000 hectares by 2020
- An increase in production from 5 million bottles per year to up to 10 million bottles by 2020
- Access to new data on soil types, water resources, and infrastructure networks to identify the best areas of land are for production
The new targets will be backed by the Government’s Great British Food Unit, launched this year, to turbocharge exports, boost inward investment and support emerging British companies to export overseas. The Government has also pledged to help producers identify an additional 75,000 acres across the country suitable for sparkling wine production.
England and Wales currently boast around 500 vineyards, and according to English Wine Producers (the marketing arm of the UK wine industry) the South East is home to 149. Wealden itself is home to a number of vineyards, including Sussex Vineyards near Mayfield, and Bluebell Vineyard Estates in Furners Green.
Commenting on the new targets, Nus Ghani MP said: “Wealden’s vineyards are a source of great pride to me – I’ve have the pleasure of visiting both Sussex Vineyards and Bluebell Vineyard Estates in recent months. Our vineyards are a stunning addition to East Sussex’s landscape but also hugely successful businesses. Wealden alone is showing France that it doesn’t have a monopoly on outstanding wine, and I’m delighted that the industry, together with the Government, is ambitious for even stronger British wine production.”
Jonica Fox, of Sussex Vineyards, added: “It's great that UK wine producers like us are getting interest & support from the Government. Nus is a great advocate for rural businesses like ours and we’re grateful for her support.”