The British wine industry has experienced a boom over the past year, with a surge in the number of new vineyards opening across the country.
According to a recent report by accountancy group UHY Hacker Young, there were 37 new winemakers in England licensed by HMRC in 2015.
James Simmonds, partner at UHY Hacker Young, said: “In recent years the wine industry has gone from strength to strength, and customers are now opting for English wines over French or Italian products, which 20 years ago would have been seen as a joke.
“Products like English sparkling wine have now firmly established themselves at the same table as products such as prosecco or champagne.
“Many English vineyards do a lot more than produce wine, which can make them very profitable businesses. They are diversifying to offer tastings and tours, have restaurants, rooms for overnight guests and can even be a venue for weddings and other events.”
Wine production in the UK has more than doubled over the past two and a half decades, from annual production of 2 million bottles in 1990 to 5.06 million bottles in 2015, according to the Wine Standards Branch, Food Standards Agency.
British wine production is set to double in volume by 2020 – with predicted volumes increasing from 5 million bottles 10 million.
Simon Roberts, the Head Winemaker at Ridgeview wine estate, told Sky News that the robust demand for English and Welsh wines simply comes down to quality.
“I really do think it’s the quality,” he said. “We’re winning international awards… For the percentage of wines we produce, we’re the most-awarded wine producing country in the world.
“Which… considering we make five million bottles – set to increase to 10 million bottles in the next five years – is a huge statement.”