UK pledges tenfold increase in wine exports by 2020

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Sussex is one of the regions where wine is produced. Pic: iStock / gmans1986
Sussex is one of the regions where wine is produced. Pic: iStock / gmans1986

Related tags Chardonnay Government

The UK wine industry is pledging a tenfold increase in exports by 2020, along with plans to boost production and identify more land suitable for vineyards.

The targets were announced by the UK government’s environment secretary Elizabeth Truss, following a roundtable meeting between government, producers and industry representatives to explore opportunities for the future.

Production of English wine has doubled in the last five years, and sales reached a record £100m ($141m) in 2015.

£30m export target

The UK wants to see a tenfold increase in its wine exports, taking them from 250,000 bottles to 2.5m bottles by 2020.

This equates to an increase in value from £3.2m ($4.52m) to more than £30m ($42.4m).

Markets for exports include mainland Europe (in particular Germany and Scandinavia), China, Japan, Australia, the US and Canada.

“New markets and opportunities are opening up all the time,”​ said Sam Lindo, a member of English Wine Producers and United Kingdom Vineyards Association chairman. 

“We anticipate our exports to increase from what is currently 5% of production to represent up to 25%.”

To support an increase in exports, there are targets to increase the area of planted vineyards from 2,000 hectares to 3,000 hectares in 2020. Production would increase from 5m bottles a year to 10m bottles by 2020.

Support will be offered from the government’s Great British Food Unit, an initiative launched in January to boost production and exports of food and drink.  

Wineries which took part in the government’s wine roundtable included Ridgeview, Chapel Down, Nyetimber, Bolney Wine Estate, Biddenden and Rathfinny.

Targets 2020

  • Tenfold increase in wine exports to £30m
  • Grow the area of planted vineyards to 3,000 hectares
  • Increase production to 10m bottles a year

Sparkling wine, sparkling future

Sparkling wine accounts for around 66% of total wine produced.  Most recent plantings have been for sparkling wine production, with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier being the top varieties used.

In October, the UK government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) released laser mapping data, which can be used to identify the best places to grow grapes.​ The 3D LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) maps – originally used primarily for planning flood defenses and analyse land use - can help growers understand variations in slope and aspect.  

The government believes that an additional 75,000 acres suitable for wine production can be identified across the country.

Related topics Markets Beer, Wine, Spirits, Cider

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