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One Million vines to be planted in UK this year and New UK Wine Competition is also launched

April 17th, 2017

Under embargo until 0.00hrs TUESDAY 18th APRIL 2017

Record-breaking planting in 2017
as new national competition is launched to find the UK’s Best Wine


Images available here: https://we.tl/oUhSl0zNP4 Photo credits, from left to right:
Top row: Jenkyn Place Vineyard, Jenkyn Place Vineyard
Bottom row: Albury Vineyard, Wiston Estate, Danebury Vineyard

London, 18th April 2017: The UK’s wine industry looks set to continue its impressive growth as it reveals that a record-breaking one million vines will be planted in the UK this year. In recognition of the increasing importance and popularity of UK wine, the industry has launched a brand new competition designed to celebrate the incredible achievements of England and Wales’ wine producers, and to crown the UK’s very best wine.
The inaugural UK Wine Awards will be led by a glittering line up of wine experts including Susie Barrie MW (leading wine writer and one of the wine experts on BBC Saturday Kitchen), wine luminary Oz Clarke and leading sommelier and wine writer Hamish Anderson.

They will be joining forces with the UK wine industry itself, as well as boutique hotel brand and wine lovers Hotel du Vin, the quintessentially English magazine Country Life and Waitose, which carries the largest range of English and Welsh wines on the high street.

Wines from producers large and small from around the country will be pitched against each other and judged blind over two days. The results will be announced on Wednesday 31st May as part of English Wine Week celebrations.

The new awards come at a pivotal moment for English and Welsh wines:

• One million vines are set to be planted in the UK this year – the largest number ever planted in a single year in the UK
• In the last ten years the acreage planted with grapevines has grown by an astonishing 135%
• Since 2000 acreage has nearly tripled
• This means wine production is one of the fastest growing agricultural sectors in the UK
• This year’s vine planting will yield another two million bottles of mainly sparkling wine, adding an estimated £50m to the industry
• These vines will fill an estimated 625 acres – the equivalent of planting up the whole of London’s Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens combined

Viticultural consultant Stephen Skelton MW, commenting on the growth in plantings, said: "2017 will see the largest number of vines ever planted in a single year in the UK, and underlines the popularity of both English sparkling and still wines with the wine-buying public. Producers have seen demand soar, both at home and abroad, and are planting for the future.”

Commenting on the inaugural UK Wine Awards being launched this year, Susie Barrie MW said:, “The UK Wine Awards has been launched to showcase one of the world's most exciting wine regions. There is so much to shout about and I’m grateful to our fantastic sponsors Country Life, Hotel du Vin and Waitrose, all three of whom are steadfast supporters of great British produce and producers.”

Oz Clarke added, “What a year to initiate our new UK wine Awards. The French finally admit they like our wines. New York decides that English bubbles are the next big cool wine 'thing'. And we are planting a million new vines in our nation this year. We are bubbling with confidence. And we want a UK Wine Awards which reflects that confidence, to trumpet the message across the wine world that the English and the Welsh are coming and we will not be denied!”

Rebecca Hull MW, English Wine Buyer at Waitrose and one of the UK Wine Awards judges, commented: “Waitrose have been stalwart supporters of English and Welsh wines for many years now, and we see customer demand for them growing year upon year. These wines are world class and the Awards will certainly serve to highlight some of the gems produced on our own doorstep. We’re really proud of our support of this exciting and growing industry.”

Calum Russell, Director at Hotel du Vin said, “As our name suggests wine is at the heart of what we do. We are passionate about finding the very best wines for our customers to try, and English and Welsh wines are increasingly a key part of that. We’re delighted to be supporting the competition and the UK wine industry.”

Country Life’s Editor, Mark Hedges, added: “Country Life champions all things British, including wine. Our readers expect the very best and English wines are now among the finest—it is an honour to be involved.”
The full results from the competition will be unveiled in the 31st May edition of Country Life as well as extensively on social media (@ukwineawards)

- ENDS -

Charlie Jack, Emily Jones at Hudson Sandler
0207 796 4133 / ukwineawards@hudsonsandler.com

Julia Trustram Eve, English Wine Producers
01858 467782 / 07775 760451

About the UK wine industry
There are now some 500 vineyards in England and Wales, and over 5000 acres under vine. An average of 5m bottles is currently produced, two thirds of which is sparkling wine. Projections are that wine production will double in the next five years. English wines are now regularly served at 10 Downing Street and at State functions. They are now widely available throughout the UK and exports are growing across the world.
The UK Wine Awards are organised by the United Kingdom Vineyards Association, in conjunction with English Wine Producers.
www.ukva.org.uk www.englishwineproducers.com

About Hotel du Vin
Hotel du Vin is an elegant collection of 17 town house and city centre properties with a particular emphasis on food and beverage. Each boasts its own individuality and personality, resonating from the character of the historic buildings that have been sensitively converted into stylish boutique hotels. The essence of the brand lies in its unyielding commitment to doing the simple things well. A love of wine resonates with substantial wine menu that features many of the world’s best and often relatively unknown wine producers. The substance and style of the bedrooms are completed with attentive touches including Egyptian cotton bedding, monsoon power showers and roll-top baths.

Locations: Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Harrogate, Henley-on-Thames, Newcastle, Poole, St Andrews, Tunbridge Wells, Wimbledon, Winchester and York

About Country Life Magazine
Since its launch in 1897, Country Life has been the world’s most celebrated magazine of the British way of life, its countryside, properties and gardens. Its matchless authority, exquisite photography and world-class writing have ensured its position as one of the nation’s truly great magazines. Country Life’s readers have always sought the best things in life from food and antiques to the finest properties and estates to buy.

About Waitrose
With a 63% market share of English sparkling wines, Waitrose has been a champion of homegrown wines since the beginning. The national high street chain lists the largest range of English and Welsh wines available in the UK, with over 100 wines from across the country currently available. Waitrose also now produces its own English sparkling wine, Leckford Estate Brut, which is made from grapes grown on their farm in Hampshire.