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Announcement: Highest UK Vineyard ever Recorded

HIGHEST UK VINEYARD AREA EVER RECORDED

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DEFRA has recently released the latest UK production and vineyard figures, which show that the year on year growth in planting is continuing. The figures, collected after the 2008 harvest, show 1,106 hectares now under vine in the UK, the highest ever recorded in the UK, giving a growth of over 45% in the last four years.
Vineyards are also showing a year on year increase in number since 2002, with 416 vineyards recorded.

The figures are collated by the Wine Standards Branch of the Food Standards Agency, which holds the Vineyard Register and from which the data is collected. All vineyards must be listed on the register when they come in to production. However, vineyards which are planted but not yet in production are not all registered, which indicates that in reality the acreage planted is higher than that officially recorded.

“My own estimate is that the planted area in 2008 was nearer 1,250 ha,” comments Stephen Skelton MW, author of the UK Vineyards Guide, which includes extensive figures from the industry going back 3 decades. “At least 100 ha of vines were planted in 2009, bringing the grand total, as of the end of May 2009, to around 1,350 ha.”

Perhaps more revealing is the evaluation of varietal plantings, compiled by Stephen Skelton, which shows a marked increase in traditional varieties, with Pinot Noir accounting for 19% of total hectarage (with 250 ha) and Chardonnay at 17% (225 ha). Pinot Meunier accounts for 5% of plantings. These varietals are planted primarily for sparkling wines and reflect the ongoing increase in this style of production. Bacchus comes in third with 10%of total planting, illustrating the trend for this aromatic varietal and its use in still white wine production. “The “top 10” of plantings shows that sparkling varieties (I have included all Pinot Noir as sparkling) at 540 ha account for 40% of all UK plantings and have risen significantly over the 6 years since the hot summer of 2003 from 85 ha,” adds Stephen. Stephen Skelton MW

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Tuesday, December 12, 8:30 am

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