Wales could have 50 vineyards in two decades time, one grower has told the BBC. The country currently has 17, producing around 100,000 bottles of wine a year – a rise of 70% in the last decade. According to Richard Morris of Ancre Hill Estates winery, the number of vineyards could rise to 50 in the next 20 years. Morris told the BBC that a comparison with similar climates supports his theory.
“We’re predicting by 2035 that we’ll have four to six wineries in Wales, that we’ll have about 50 vineyards,” he said. “That’s based on the growth of the wine industry in Nova Scotia, for example, on the eastern seaboard of Canada. It’s a massive industry there and Wales can quickly get to that level, I’d say, within ten to 15 years.” Acre Hill Estates, near Monmouth in south-east Wales, sells ‘bio-dynamic’ wine, which means only natural products are used. It has just started supplying a wholesaler in the famous French wine-growing region of Bordeaux.
Britain is not known for its wine production, and English and Welsh wines only account for around 1% of the UK market. The sector is growing significantly, though, and in 2007 an English wine was judged to be among the world’s top ten sparkling wines for the first time. Observers give several reasons for the increased popularity of England and Welsh wines, including an increased appetite for locally sourced food and drink. Britain has also benefited from a sequence of warmer than average summers, making production less variable. Initiatives including Wine Trail Wales have also helped push the product. Attempts to produce wine in Scotland have been thwarted by a lack of sunlight.