Fresh analysis suggests many English wineries are seeing record turnover from increased consumer demand, as the industry tries to get a better picture of its finances.
English wine turnover hitting new highs
Turnover for ‘independent’ English wine producers reached £132 million in the tax year ended 31 March, up 16% on the previous year, according to online business finance firm Funding Options.
It told Decanter.com that it analysed turnover data from producers listed at the UK’s Companies House.
Over the past five years, this turnover figure has has almost trebled, from £55.7 million in 2010/2011, said Funding Options.
Some of the revenue increase is likely to be from new producers.
Exact sales figures on English wine are difficult to obtain, but this is another sign of the emerging English wine success story.
It follows a major win for Norfolk’s Winbirri in the Decanter World Wine Awards and customs figures showing that a record 64 new wine producers in the UK obtained a licence for wine production in 2016.
Trade body English Wine Producers (EWP) couldn’t verify the Funding Options figures, but EWP’s Julia Trustram Eve said, ‘This is another good news story for English wine – and is in-line with what we already know. Production is up, in vineyards planted and volume going out.’
Read about the changing landscape of English sparkling wine, and which ones to try, in the August 2017 issue of Decanter, on sale now. Subscribe to Decanter.
What is the English wine sector worth?
Annual production of English wine was 4.15 million bottles in 2016, according to trade body English Wine Producers. Champagne produces around 300 million bottles per year.
But, less is known about overall English wine sales. Stephen Skelton MW, an English wine specialist, cautioned that there was currently no official figure, incorporating duty-free sales as well as duty-paid orders.
‘The growth in exports is extraordinary,’ said Trustram Eve. ‘Also, what we know from individual retailers – like M&S and Waitrose – shows a steady upswing in sales.’
She added, ‘We do want to get a better picture of the landscape, and more raw data – find out what our industry is experiencing, beyond the top-line production numbers and details from retailers.’
English Wine Producers is set to merge with the United Kingdom Vineyards Association and this should help to improve market data, said Trustram Eve.
There are plans for an English wine economic market report to be commissioned later this year.
There is also wine made that is not yet available on the market; in the case of the sparkling wines, some will still be in the cellar.
With a growing shift towards more non-vintage English sparkling, some is being held back as reserve wine, too.
Exports are becoming more import for English wine; in 2016, English and Welsh wines were sent to 27 countries, according to a government report earlier this year.
The report also stated that producers are committed to increasing total exports to 2.5 million bottles in 2020.
English wine is also growing in popularity in New York, according to local resident Elin McCoy and will be a ‘must-have’ for every restaurant wine list, according to Ronan Sayburn MS.
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