Harvest is underway at English wineries, as winemakers praise the conditions for the 2018 vintage following a summer heatwave...
English wine harvest 2018: ‘Ideal’ conditions praised
The heatwave this summer provided excellent conditions for English wine, according reports from the winemakers.
In July, winemakers praised the ‘near perfect’ conditions. And optimism has grown in the subsequent weeks, with some now hopeful that 2018 will be a ‘benchmark’ year for the fledgling industry.
‘Growing conditions across the country have been ideal and this shows in both excellent quality and high yield,’ said Simon Robinson, chairman of trade body WineGB and owner of Hattingley Valley.
‘This is very welcome as sales of wine continue to rise rapidly, both domestically and overseas. The wine industry is a bright star in the UK agricultural sector which is concerned about the post-Brexit world.’
This is also welcome news after 2017 was a difficult and small vintage.
‘We’ve waited 30 years for this vintage which I have no doubt will be a benchmark for years to come. There is huge potential and it’s a joy to work through,’ said Bob Lindo, owner of Camel Valley in Cornwall.
‘The 2018 Ridgeview harvest is shaping up to be our biggest and best vintage yet and we will be receiving fruit in the winery earlier than ever before,’ said Matt Strugnell, vineyard manager at Ridgeview Vineyards in Sussex.
‘Canopy management has been crucial this year, keeping and maintaining what is looking like an amazing English wine harvest.’
See also: How do winemakers combat heatwaves? Ask Decanter
‘With the good weather looking set to continue into October there seems little to stand in the way of both a bumper harvest and high quality grapes for wine makers,’ said WSTA CEO Miles Beale.
However, the WSTA also warned that there are other aspects to consider in the wider UK wine trade.
‘While British grape growers have experienced very favourable conditions, our wine growing friends on the continent and elsewhere in the world, have had to battle droughts, wildfires, storms and disease,’ said Beale.
‘And, because the vast majority of wine in the UK is imported, that matters for the 33 million UK wine consumers for whom wine continues to become increasingly expensive.’
Trade body Wine GB predicted that the industry will continue to grow, and that by 2040 annual bottle production will reach around 40 million bottles.