British wine production could soar by 2100 because of climate change

Britain could become one of the world’s top wine exporters by the end of the century.

According to new research, changing weather patterns could transform regions of the UK into ideal growing environments for a number of grape varieties.

The study was commissioned by the wine merchant Laithwaite’s, Professor Mark Maslin and research scientist Lucien Georgeson.

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The researchers found that rising temperatures and increased levels of rainfall in the UK could help create an ideal intermediate climate for varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Tempranillo.

Temperatures are forecast to increase by at least 2.2C by 2100 and rainfall is expected to increase 5.6 per cent.

Grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc could be grown in the Midlands, while the Thames Estuary could be suitable for Malbec and parts of the southwest of England would be ideal for Merlot.

Vineyards could even thrive as far north as Elgin near Inverness, Scotland.

Professor Mark Maslin from University College London said: “Climate is critical to successful grape cultivation.

“This study could signal how we think long-term about British wine production and redraw the future wine map of the world.

“However, exactly where would be best for particular grapes will depend on site, slope, aspect, soil and drainage – as wine making is much an art as it is a science.”

Davy Zyw, of Laithwaite’s Wine, which commissioned the study, said: “It’s not long ago that experts scoffed at the idea of English, let alone wider British wine.

“Now thanks to a changing climate, as well as passion and expertise, we could see wine buyers from all over the world coming to taste the latest UK vintages in a few generations.”