Wine Production and Consumption in the UK

In the last decade there has been a worrying decline in the sales of beer in pubs in the UK. As this has been occurring the sale of wine has remained constant. It would appear that traditional tastes are being modified as Britain’s have entered the 21st century. A common generalization is that when people go out the man will drink a pint of beer or lager, whilst a lady will have a glass of wine or some sort of spirit. This has been challenged in recent times with cider becoming more and more popular, with wine consumption remaining the same despite the overall decline in alcohol sales. Most people like to drink wine with a meal. The recent trend in the 21st century is that people are choosing not to visit the pub so regularly for a variety of reasons. The chosen form of socialization has been modified to include staying at home with a group of friends, enjoying a good meal and a few drinks.

 

Denbies in Dorking, Surrey producing wine since 1986

The natural drink to go with a meal is wine. The historic adage of white wine with white meat and red wine with red meat still holds true today, and in the high-end restaurants some types of wines are recommended to be drank with certain dishes. In rather plainer terms if a group of people are going to enjoy a nice meal the large volume drinks will take away the enjoyment of the meal. The beauty of the wine is that it leaves enough space for the meal to be comfortably consumed. Britain’s have drifted towards European tastes in terms of entertainment. The expansion of coffee houses has modified people’s perception of socialising and men who now choose to drink a glass of wine in a pub are no longer seen as being unusual. The globalization of the wine market has seen the UK gather its wine from a variety of different sources from around the world. There has been a huge increase in particular of Argentinian and New Zealand wines, plus there is a growing supply of wine from home produced sources.

 

Hambledon vineyard – the oldest in the UK

In the last decade the number of acres planted with grapevines in England and Wales has grown by 135%. Although wine has been produced in the UK since Roman times the popularity of wine, especially the sparkling variety, has never been more popular than it is today. In 2016 the UK exported wine to 27 different countries where as in 2015 it had been only fifteen, and the annual sales of wine has now reached 100 million pounds. Between 2014 and 2016 thirty new vineyards were opened, with global warming leading to longer and later ripening seasons being given as one of the major factors for this trend.

The major supermarkets now stock more home-produced wine than ever before. Marks and Spencer doubled their sales of home produced wines in 2016, and in the same year Waitrose sold 50% more British wine, adding 12 new varieties to their shelves. The interest in the British wine industry has gathered such pace that the French Champagne Houses Tattinger and Vranken-Pommery Monopole, have announced projects that will be located in Hampshire and Kent. The British are currently changing their attitudes towards both the consumption and production of wine.