A busy programme across the year as UK wine industry continues its growth trajectory

After another busy year and a record-breaking harvest in 2023, WineGB is this year delivering a packed programme of events and campaigns in the UK and overseas. This will support the growth of the UK’s wine industry and represent their interests to politicians in this change year.

Rising Stars: 2024 is kicking off with a new initiative to celebrate the next generation of industry stars. With the generous support of The Vintners’ Company, WineGB is launching its Rising Stars awards at a glittering ceremony at Vintners’ Hall on 31 January. This will recognise those younger members working in all areas of the industry for their significant contribution to the vineyards and winery environments in which they work. The evening will include a special UK Wine Apprenticeship Award from the Vintners’ whose recipient will receive funding to enable them to study on one of the industry courses offered by Plumpton College.

Taking Britain’s wines to the world: 2024 will see increased export activity this year. Current and new exporting producers will be taking part in trade tastings in Copenhagen and Stockholm (20 and 22 February) as they continue to expand into the Scandinavian market, currently the biggest export market for English wines. ProWein 2024 (10-12 March) will also see the highest ever number of British sparkling and still producers exhibiting under the WineGB banner. WineGB is also hosting an inbound visit of US trade buyers and press, supported by the Department of Business and Trade (DBT) and the government’s GREAT campaign.

Putting the industry on the political agenda in 2024: WineGB is focussed on communicating the tangible contribution that the UK wine industry now brings to the UK economy through tax, tourism and employment. The industry’s latest insight report based on 2023 activity and stats will be published in April. In this election year, WineGB will also be publishing its manifesto to share with all those standing for election. The industry body continues to strengthen its work with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Wine of Great Britain (APPG), where they are meeting on 22 April to showcase the sector’s issues with a ‘Taste and Talk’ ensuring the industry’s voice is heard across the political parties on matters including exports, provenance and duty.

Domestic growth: Wales will be celebrating the very best of their wines and vineyards with their first ever focus tasting event in London on 5 March and during Welsh Wine Week (24 May – 2 June). June will also sizzle with summer activity: Kent’s vineyards will be hosting their Wine Garden of England summer celebration on 8 June. English Wine Week (15-23 June) gives UK retailers and on-trade the ideal opportunity to put English wines in focus and drive sales as they take part in promotions and tastings to engage customers more with this exciting category. England’s vineyards and cellar doors will also be in the spotlight through the extensive digital and print media to promote wine tourism at this prime time of year. Hampshire’s vineyards have moved their annual Vineyards of Hampshire Fizz Fest to take place during the Week, on 23 June.

The excellence of Britain’s wines will be celebrated through the 2024 WineGB Awards whose judging will be taking place in early June with a stellar judging panel. Further exciting announcements will be released soon. This competition serves to highlight the many high quality and winning wine styles and producers of all sizes and from across the UK, culminating with the industry’s trophy awards ceremony on 19 July.

WineGB’s annual Trade & Press Tasting will be taking place on Wednesday 4 September at the Battersea Arts Centre, London. Bolstered by the large harvest last year plus several new entrants coming onto the market, this year’s tasting is set to present the widest showcase of wines and producers from across the UK. The tasting will include additional features such as spotlight and tutored tastings and WineGB’s industry trade and press briefing. Other trade initiatives will include a One Day Wine School, aimed at sommeliers and on-trade buyers, to take place later in the summer.

Industry sustainability: WineGB’s commitment to sustainability across the industry will be resonating across all activities and communications. A growing hectarage owned by WineGB members is now certified under the industry’s scheme, Sustainable Wines of Great Britain, and 2024 will see more accredited wines coming onto the market. The industry has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030 and significant developments are already underway to meet this. WineGB’s Sustainability Report will be published on 23 October – World Sustainability Day.

Membership growth: With WineGB’s membership representing some 80% of all production, the organisation continues to provide connections, knowledge and upskilling opportunities across the industry. The annual members’ conference this year will be on 16 April and WineGB will continue with the seminar series in partnership with the organisers, Vineyard Magazine, at the Vineyard & Winery Show on 20 November. With UK wine tourism a key area of growth, WineGB is delighted to be working with VisitEngland this year to deliver a programme of training workshops to vineyards operating or developing cellar doors as part of a wider toolkit of support for its members.

WineGB’S CEO Nicola Bates, CEO commented: “This is a pivotal year for the sector. With a General Election on the horizon, we are launching reports, our manifesto and hosting events to ensure that politicians understand the needs of the industry. The UK wine industry is thriving and we are proud to be working with so many in the UK and overseas trade to champion our English and Welsh wines. We play an important role in supporting that demand and creating moments that lead to more sales through our calendar of events and campaigns.”