Lonely Planet Writer

Bottoms up! From Essex to Edinburgh, the UK could become a major wine producer

Britain may find itself on the wine-exporting map within the next century, with vineyards stretching from as far apart as London to Scotland.

The landscape in the UK might resemble a Tuscan vineyard in future.
The landscape in the UK might resemble a Tuscan vineyard in future. Image by Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Evening Standard reports that altering climate temperatures and rainfall levels may make somewhere like Peckham, in the capital, an established white wine producer by 2100. A University College London study for Laithwaite’s Wine has found that Britain now has the potential to make a name for itself as one of Europe’s largest wine exporters, with a number of vineyards planted everywhere from Essex to Edinburgh.

According to the study, Peckham, in south London – home of the Trotter brothers in the BBC television comedy, Only Fools and Horses – has been selected as the location with the perfect conditions for the production of Chardonnay as well as Sauvignon Blanc. It has also been suggested that Malbec might be made in the Thames Estuary region (for example in Romford, Southend and even Slough) while Merlot could be produced in the Severn Pocket.

Professor Mark Maslin and Lucien Georgeson reached their estimations based on the average temperatures or rainfall conditions necessary for growing various grapes, and the predicted changes due to occur to the British climate to map viticulture over the next 85 years. Currently, there is a theory that temperatures will increase by a minimum of 2.2 C by 2100, while rainfall is set to rise by 5.6%. Professor Maslin explained that climate is the key to grape cultivation and that this study may be the beginning of a changed view regarding British wine production.

Davy Zyw, a representative of Laithwaite’s Wine, said that climate change might mean that wine buyers around the globe will be sampling UK vintages in years to come. The Midlands and central England might be cultivating grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. The north-east of England, and even as far north as Edinburgh in Scotland, could be ideal centres for Pinot Grigio in the future.