Wine-growing the wise option for crop growers keen on diversification

Diversifying into wine growing is an option being considered by increasing numbers of growers of other crops, Hattingley Valley Wines farm manager Simon Checketts said at Fruit Focus.

Image: HW
Image: HW

As well as making its own wines, the company works as a contract winemaker for 16 other vineyards.

"Growers have the ground, the tractor expertise on-site and grapes are harvested later than other crops in October," he said.

"But they don't want all the investment. There are a lot of costs in winemaking, and not just the kit. Rather than have all that for one week a year, you might as well get someone else to do it."

Hattingley also helps growers pre-plan vineyards, he added. "They are in the ground for 25-30 years, so it's expensive to correct if you get it wrong."

UK Vineyards Association chairman Paul Langham said 2014 has the makings of a record year but stressed that there could be no certainty until October.

He added: "In the UK, that many growers have a strong commercial background. They understand the need to develop export markets."

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