Record harvest for UK wine makers in 2023

16 January, 2024

The trade body representing England and Wales revealed that 2023 marked a high-quality, high-volume vintage as the wine industry continues to expand. Numerous English winemakers harvested their largest-ever crop between the end of October and mid-November last year, thanks to favourable weather conditions and industry growth.

Gusbourne, a major Kent-based producer, reported a 25% increase in crop size compared to 2022. Benefiting from a warm growing season, the vines emerged in excellent condition after winter and experienced good weather during the flowering period from April to June last year, resulting in an abundance of fruit.

Major brands like Nyetimber, Chapel Down, and Ridgeview also confirmed their largest-ever crops due to propitious weather and investments in additional acreage. While most production focuses on sparkling wines, which will not be available for at least two years, still wines produced in 2023 could hit the shelves in the spring this year.

Ned Awty, interim CEO of WineGB, the trade body for the wine industry in England and Wales, expressed optimism about the last harvest of 2023. He said:

“This year [2023] is shaping up to be a high volume and high-quality harvest.

We’ve had reports about impressive bunch size and weight and ripe fruit from all across the country.”

Chapel Down's CEO, Andrew Carter, anticipated a significantly larger output than the previous year (2022) and the brand's previous record set in 2018. The addition of 200 acres to their production, reaching 750 acres, coupled with exceptional weather, has contributed to the production of high-quality grapes.

The UK's winemaking industry is primarily concentrated in Kent, but vineyards in Essex, Hampshire, and Sussex also supply independent retailers and UK supermarkets. British wine, sold both domestically and internationally, is estimated to have exports worth up to £350 million by 2040.

With the industry expanding, there are now 943 vineyards across Great Britain, as reported by WineGB. The sector produced 12.2 million bottles in 2022, a significant increase from 5.3 million bottles in 2017. Investors have been drawn to this growing market, leading to more than doubling the number of vineyards in the past decade.

Forecasts indicate that production could reach 25 million bottles by 2032, with 7,600 hectares (18,800 acres) of vines planted, nearly double the current 4,000 hectares (9,900 acres) under production.

Source: The Guardian

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