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Corks popping as English wine sales hit record highs

Sales of English wine passed £25 million last year, despite a hit on the hospitality sector from the Covid-19 pandemic.

A study by the accountants UHY Hacker Young found that the collective turnover of England’s top wine producers grew by 4.5 per cent year-on-year to £25.4 million — mostly sparkling wines.

The firm said it was “a testament to the growing popularity of English wine that producers have continued to increase their sales through the challenging pandemic period”.

While lockdowns took a bite out of usually strong sales to conferences, banquets and weddings, producers more than offset that hit by increasing their penetration into supermarkets.

The study, which takes in the eight producers that disclose turnover in their accounts, found that as recently as five years ago their collective sales totalled only £9.4million.

James Simmonds, partner at UHY Hacker Young, said: “Shoppers now consider English wine just as readily as they would wine from any other country – it’s no longer a novelty, it’s becoming a more regular purchase.”

He predicted that this year’s wedding season, the extended Platinum Jubilee bank holiday and the return of summer events such as Wimbledon would drive sales even higher.

The biggest wine producer is the Kent-based Chapel Down, which continues to plant new vines and is seeking planning permission to build a new winery with increased capacity. Other leading wine makers include Nyetimber, Furleigh, Three Choirs, Gusbourne, Bolney and Hush Heath.

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