English wine sales sparkle as appetite for buying local soars
English Wine Week takes place from 19-27 June 2021
- Enthusiasm for English Wine escalates as retailers report exponential growth in sales of English & Welsh wines
- English wine sales are riding high as more consumers turned to ‘shop local’ during lockdown and the trend continues
- Wine tourism predicted to grow as more people holiday in UK
As wine producers and retailers gear up to celebrate English Wine Week which starts this Saturday (19 June) until Sunday 27 June Wines of Great Britain (WineGB) reports that sales of English wines continue to go from strength to strength.
WineGB is toasting growth across the board, as latest industry figures reveal that sales of English and Welsh wines increased by around 30% in 2020 over the previous year, showing the ever-growing thirst for home-grown wines amongst wine lovers. This has been further boosted by the boom in wine tourism and an increasing number of consumers buying direct from the winery, either online or at the ‘cellar door’. Industry data also shows that nearly 2000 hectares of vines have been planted in the last 5 years, doubling hectarage over that time, making wine production one of the fastest-growing agricultural sectors in the UK.
The popularity of English wines is reflected through the retail sector too. Multiple retailers such as Waitrose & Partners and M&S have reported a huge growth in sales in the last 12 months*, with specialist retailer Majestic reporting a 99% growth in still wines, and The Wine Society saw its sales increase by 200%*. Independent wine shops are also seeing the benefits as consumers shop local, with the likes of The Oxford Wine Company reporting an increase of 86% year on year.*
*See notes to editors for full figures
Wine Tourism hails positive news for the Staycation
This burgeoning industry has also led to a rise in wine tourism in the UK; there are over 700 vineyards in Britain today with many open to the public offering a range of experiences.
With staycations on the cards for many this year, visiting England’s vineyards is set to be highly popular, particularly as many are located in tourism hotspots and the appetite for local food and drink is ever increasing. Vineyards from Cornwall to Yorkshire now offer a wide range of experiences, which include restaurants and visitor centres and even accommodation as well as tours, tastings and cellar door sales. A growing number of wine trails are now set up to enhance the presence of vineyards in different regions in England; two more are being launched in time for English Wine week: The Yorkshire Wine Trail and Wiltshire Wine Trail.
WineGB CEO, Simon Thorpe MW, comments: “There is a real buzz around the Great British wine industry and this sales growth points very clearly to an ever-increasing love affair between British wine drinkers and their local vineyards and the pride we have in our own food and drink. There is also such genuine support and commitment from retailers and the on-trade to our producers as they inspire their customers with an ever more accessible choice of wines from the UK.
“This industry boasts great wines to fantastic visitor experiences. We can be rightfully proud as we celebrate this great British success story. Our keen message to wine drinkers across the country is that our wines are readily available and ready to be enjoyed!”
WineGB will be holding its Trade & Press Tasting on Tuesday 7th September 2021 at RHS Lindley Hall, London.
– Ends –
Notes to Editors
English Wine Week is taking place from 19-27 June
Organised by WineGB, The Week presents an ideal opportunity to get to know English wines better, as vineyards and retailers highlight the many fantastic wines that are readily available.
English Wine Week is a great time to visit vineyards or seek out wines from a local store or restaurant.
There are a range of special promotions and events taking place – find out more by visiting www.winegb.co.uk or on social media
Instagram: @winegb Twitter: @Wine_GB Facebook: @winegb
Retailer Sales Figures
Waitrose & Partners reported that sales of English sparkling wines are up 52% year on year. Sales of English red and rosé wine also grew for the retailer last year, which was strongly reflected in sales of local* reds and rosés, with sales up 54% and 14% respectively. (*Wines sold in store from vineyards from within a 30-mile radius of the shop). They are celebrating English Wine Week with a special case offer of selected English still and sparkling wines from around the country.
Marks & Spencer also saw strong growth with sales of English sparkling wine up 85% by value, and 89% by volume and still wines up 61% by value and 58% by volume (52 weeks to 27/03/21). Buyer Dror Nativ comments: “This continues to be a category of focus, getting more than its fair share of shelf space and feature, as we believe in the future of the GB wine industry and in the outstanding quality of the wines.”
Matthew Horsley, Buyer for English wines at The Wine Society says: “Sales of English wine at The Wine Society have exploded over the last year, but the last six months in particular, with sales up nearly 200% on 2020. The main growth is on still white and rosé wines which is exciting to see.”
Specialist wine retailer Majestic is also reporting notable strong growth in English wines. CCO Rob Cooke says: “The enthusiasm for English Wine shows no sign of slowing down, customers are continuing to buy into our expanding English Wine offer. Perhaps the most notable trend of the last 12 months has been the acceleration in Still Wine sales, growing at 99% year on year, with still rosé growing at almost 200%. Our customers love the recommendations from our Colleagues in store who will be working hard, now our tasting counters are back open, to promote the quality and variety that our English Wine range offers. “
Independent wine shops are also noticing an increase in demand for English Wine. Emily Silva, Head of Retail & Marketing at The Oxford Wine Company says: “We continue to see strong growth in English wine. This year so far total sales by value are 86% up compared to the same period in 2020, largely driven by fizz. This increase is largely driven by retail, given that the on-trade has been closed for most of this year. However our number of wholesale customers for English wine is growing all the time, and I’ll be interested to see how sales develop throughout the year as we come out of lockdown.”