UK plants more vines
Vineyard plantings in the UK continue to increase according to the latest DEFRA figures which show there are 1,106 hectares now under vine - the highest ever recorded showing a growth of 45% in the last four years. Vineyards are also showing an increse at 416.
The figures were collated after the 2008 harvest by the Wine Standards Branch of the Food Standards Agency, which holds the Vineyard Register. All vineyards must be listed on the register when they come in to production. This means that vineyards which are planted but not yet in production are not all registered, and an estimate by Stephen Skelton MW estimates that the planted area in 2008 was closer to 1,250 hecatres. In addition another 100 ha of vines were planted in 2009.
Skelton has also evaluated the different varieties planted with a marked increase in the traditional Champagne varieties, with Pinot Noir accounting for 19% of total hectarage (with 250 ha) and Chardonnay at 17% (225 ha). Bacchus is the third most planted grape at 10%. The top 2 varietals are used prmarily for sparkling wine which confirms fizz is very much the focus for the English wine trade.