English wine industry grows 16% in a year to record £132 million

10 July 2017

  • Turnover of English wine sector more than doubles in just five years
  • Decline in sterling presents opportunity to tap into export market

Independent English wine producers saw their turnover increase to a record high £132 million last year, shows an analysis by Funding Options, the online business finance supermarket.

The turnover of independent English wine producers grew 16% in the past year*, up from £113.8 million. The sector has nearly trebled in the last five years from just £55.7 million in 2010/11.

Turnover of Independent English wine producers increases 16% in a year as popularity of boutique alcohol continues

Graph: Turnover of Independent English wine producers increases 16% in a year as popularity of boutique alcohol continues'

Funding Options says that although English wine may not always have been seen as a serious competitor to more traditional wine-growing regions, it has in recent years become a major growth industry. Growing national and international recognition is further helping to shift consumer attitudes and increase the price per bottle.

In May 2017, Norfolk-based Winbirri Vineyards’ Bacchus 2015 wine was named the world’s best white wine, winning the Platinum Best in Show at the Decanter World Wine Awards.

Wine producers are further capitalising on the growing popularity of boutique British alcohol production that includes not only wine, but also gin and craft beer.

Increased sales are encouraging new producers to enter the market, with recent statistics showing a record 64 new wine producers obtaining a licence for wine production in 2016.**

Funding Options adds that to keep pace with growing demand and raise profitability wine makers need to increase capital investment and volume capacity. With the drop in the value of sterling in the wake of the Brexit vote, increasing capacity would further help those growers looking to the export market to meet overseas demand.

Conrad Ford, Founder of Funding Options (www.fundingoptions.com), says:

“English wine is going from strength to strength, but producers need to have the funding to expand capacity to continue their strong growth.”
“The English wine industry is not only gaining traction amongst domestic consumers, but is now being ranked with wines from traditional white wine-producing countries such as France and Germany.”
“Wine growers need to reduce restrictions on production and capacity to ensure consistent, sustainable growth in the long-term. The fall in the value of sterling serves to showcase exactly how producers need to be able to increase capacity to react quickly to changing market conditions.”
“In an industry with expensive, advanced machinery, a lack of sufficient funding, particularly for many smaller and medium-sized producers, can restrict volume capacity.”
“However, many wine growers will not fit the risk profile for larger high street banks when looking for lending to increase production. Winemakers need to look at all the options open to them for funding when looking to grow.”

*2015-16, latest data available.

**Funding Options explains the research covers high quality English wine, rather than what is considered to be a lower quality British wine. British wine is made from imported grapes.