I believe that the industry will continue to expand significantly throughout 2012 with more producers of all sizes being developed across the country. Although these will enjoy varying degrees of success, I am certain there will be many promising new ventures that will attract lots of interest and attention.
Far from this expansion being a cataclysm, such movement will offer an overall advantage to the industry as it will stimulate more interest and awareness. By the end of the year we will have more producers that are capable of larger volumes without compromising quality, thereby opening up the potential for English wine in larger outlets, both domestically and abroad.
I think the momentum will continue to grow, stimulating more and more people to enter the market. Interestingly, these people aren’t pursuing expensive hobbies. Today’s investors in the UK wine industry come from a range of diverse business and corporate backgrounds and are entering the market on the basis of sound economic reasons.
The outlook for the UK wine industry in 2012 is certainly a very positive one, assisted by an Anglo-centric year with the Olympics and Royal Diamond Jubilee celebrations taking place. With an enhanced focus on all things British, demand will certainly outstrip supply.
On the viticulture side, managing the yields; the gluts and shortages will be ever more challenging throughout the year. The unpredictable and variable nature of the English weather will always be one of the biggest influences on yield and therefore production.
In terms of our personal contribution, we see Gusbourne Estate as being intrinsically linked to the overall success of the UK wine industry in 2012. Our own equivalent of the Olympics and the Jubilee will be obtaining planning permission for our iconic winery, that we hope will unlock the potential of a further 100 hectares (250 acres) on the Estate that are ideally suited to viticulture.