Production of English wine set to soar
Row upon row of vines are going to become a common sight on the landscape of southern England as grape growing is set to increase enormously. This year alone well over 120 hectares of vines have gone into the ground and this is just the start of a big expansion plan by the major UK players. Dermot Sugrue, winemaker at sparkling wine specialist Nyetimber, promises, ‘a big, big increase in production,’ around 2008 from the 48,000 bottles it currently produces there. While Chapel Down expects to plant about 500 hectares over the next five years. At Ridgeview, owner and winemaker Mike Roberts says its planting is ‘on track for 250,000 to 280,000 bottles in 2008,’ against a current figure of 50,000 a year. Most of the grapes going into the ground are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which is not surprising since most winemakers see their future growth in sparkling wine.