It was only 50 years ago that no viticulture industry existed in the United Kingdom, while the rest of the world continued to build up thriving export businesses, the UK only had a few hobby growers. With the world’s most renowned wine producers on our doorstep did the UK dare to compete with French dynasty and experts built up over several century’s.
Still quite young in age, the first commercial English vineyard was set up in the 1960’s although, it is this millennium that has seen an enormous surge in the success of English wine. In 2000 this country was producing a mere 250,000 bottles, compared to a projected figure of over four million bottles by the year 2015.
We have over 400 thriving vineyards across England, up by 100 compared to 10 years ago. It is not just the quantity on the rise but also the quality of our wine is increasing significantly. With the south of England providing ‘near perfect’ growing conditions for the three main Champagne grapes; pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot Meunier, it is no surprise that our wines are winning gold at the prestigious International Wine Challenge and International Wine and Spirits Competition.
Sarah Calcutt, Chairman said, “The National Fruit Show has been keen to include viticulture as part of the Show for a number of years. We have recognised that this horticultural sector is part of the fruit growing family and would welcome more wine growers to the Show. Many of our exhibitors are already expanding and providing equipment, machinery and advice to vineyards in the UK. We have a number of businesses displaying the latest technology and innovation for this emerging industry.”
Biddenden Vineyards, a regular exhibitor at the National Fruit Show first planted vines in 1969, the vineyard is the oldest in the South East. There are now 22 acres of south-facing slopes, situated in a shallow sheltered valley. The winery capacity is 400,000 litres, which also caters for their award winning cider and apple juice production. Biddenden Vineyards Website
NP Seymour, one of the fruit industry’s biggest suppliers of bespoke machinery and equipment has recently started supplying winery and juicing equipment. Nick Seymour, Managing Director believes that this has been a natural expansion to the wide range of fruit growing equipment they already provide for the industry. The new product range has strengthened NP Seymour’s position as one of the UK’s premier machinery providers.