Production figures for the 2010 UK grape harvest have shown that the wine industry had a record-breaking year.
It produced 30,346 hectolitres of wine, which equates to just over four-million bottles. This is the highest volume ever produced, breaking a previous record of 3.5 million bottles.
English Wine Producers representative Julia Trustram Eve said the substantial rise reflected the increase in industry planting over the past five years.
"Since 2004, vineyard hectarage has increased by 75 per cent to 1,323.5ha. This figure is likely to understate the true position because official figures do not account for all the hectarage planted that is not yet in production," she said.
Sparkling wine has now become the most widely produced wine style. In 2009 approximately 50 per cent of total production was intended for sparkling wine.
Based on the growth of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier plantings over the past five years, it is evident that this style is increasing year on year in volume.
Data collected in 2010 of grape varieties planted showed that plantings of these varieties accounted for almost 50 per cent of the total area.
Calculations based on the current acreage indicate that, when in full production, volumes are set to reach more than five-million bottles.
EARLY PICKING EYED CROP OFF TO GOOD START
English Wine Producers representative Julia Trustram Eve said that this year's harvest could be another record breaker thanks to April's warm weather.
Buds have emerged a few weeks earlier than usual meaning that - provided there is no further frost - the crop has got off to a good start and could be harvested as early as mid-September.