Waitrose grows its own grapes

Waitrose is to become the first UK retailer to plant its own grape vines at its 1,619ha Hampshire farm, after sales of English grapes rose 90 per cent in the past two years.

The vines will be planted in the next year on the retailer's Leckford Estate farm, with Waitrose's own-label English sparkling wine reaching the shelves in 2014.The aim is to have between two and six local wines in every branch in the wine-producing regions of England.

Waitrose English wine buyer Justin Howard-Sneyd said: "Our customers are really enthusiastic about English wines and we have seen some fantastic quality from Nyetimber, Ridgeview, Chapel Down, Camel Valley and Denbies.

"We are excited about being involved with the planting and growing of our first vineyard. It also provides an opportunity to connect our wine specialists to the production cycle of the vineyard."

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