Expertise deficit is risk to sector

The emerging UK viticulture industry is growing so fast it is being hit by a damaging dearth of technical people, consultant Geoff Taylor warned delegates at the Fruit Focus Vines to Wines event.

Taylor, who has 30 years' experience in wine production and was speaking on accreditation issues for growers entering the market, said he is seeing people making mistakes in what they plant and the processes they are following.

"Mistakes are happening in the world of English wine at the moment because people are going into it a little bit blindly," said Taylor - who in the past six months has seen half a dozen producers throw out wine that has gone off due to poor production practices.

Taylor advised delegates to choose carefully when considering accreditation paths, as not all were necessary depending on the kind of business they wanted to run.

For anyone growing grapes to sell to an established winery, "accreditation issues are minimal", he said. If you get an established winery to produce wine for you, many accreditation issues become their responsibility. But if you choose to do it yourself, accreditation issues become "several magnitudes more difficult", he added.

In addition, he said that if growers intend to supply major multiples, accreditation issues will become even more complex and wine producers would be likely to need to employ a dedicated quality-control manager.


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