Latest DEFRA report on agricultural land use shows that vineyards are the fastest-growing edible agricultural crop sector in England

Vineyards are the fastest-growing edible agricultural crop sector in England, according to recent statistics issued by DEFRA (Defra Agricultural and Horticultural Survey).

These recent figures show that grapes now represent 36% of England’s soft fruit crop (which saw a sector growth rate of +21% in the last year), with strawberries and blackcurrants in second place at 21% each.

This figure is set to grow further as the UK wine industry body, Wines of Great Britain (WineGB), has reported a 74% growth in vine plantings in just five years to 4,300ha. This trajectory is set to continue as plantings are expected to reach 7,600ha by 2032, yielding a potential 24.7mn bottles (WineGB Industry Report, June 2023).

WineGB has also set out an ambitious long-term sustainability programme to measure and reduce the industry’s carbon footprint and regenerate the natural environment to enhance biodiversity throughout Britain’s vineyards.

The growth in vineyards has heralded the emergence of Wine Tourism as an important attraction for domestic and inbound tourists. Many vineyards offer experiences such as tours and tastings, and an increasing number have cafés, restaurants and even accommodation.

As Britain’s wine harvest is underway, this latest data further illustrates the positive impact this industry is making on the landscape, to local economies, and rural employment.

Comments Ned Awty, interim CEO of industry body Wines of Great Britain (WineGB): “It is often said to be exciting times in British Wine and right now is no exception. The UK is one of the fastest-growing wine regions in the world with an exciting future ahead. With increased investment, increased global awareness and an exciting portfolio of sparkling and still wines, this is an excellent time to be seeking out your nearest vineyard to see what they have to offer.

“Wine tourism is becoming an increasingly important business for our producers. As having local vineyards normalises in the national psyche, so does popping in to try wines or buy a bottle. This change in consumer behaviour is already having a significant impact on local economies and we look forward to seeing it grow.

“Consumers are demanding more locally produced, environmentally friendly products, something that English and Welsh wines are in a unique position to deliver.”

Read the full DEFRA report: