In the long term I remain very optimistic about the future of English wine. However for 2012 I believe that on the retail side we will have to work harder than ever for sales; our potential customers have seen a substantial erosion in their spending powers and a bottle of English wine at almost £10 might well be viewed as excessive. Over the past few years we have done everything within our power to reduce our cost base whilst not sacrificing our pursuit of quality, so that in our own case we simply have to weather the storm and plan for a more favourable economic climate.
We continue to undertake a major restructuring and investment programme at our vineyard, in terms of new plantings and landscaping, and given the long term nature of our business all of this is on-going irrespective of short term economic factors.
I believe that we will have to add value to our business through non-wine sales via our shop and restaurant. These areas have proved remarkably resilient over the past three years.
I also realise the importance of social media, eg Twitter and Facebook, and the part that they play in our ability to engage with our customers.
I am also crossing my fingers that we have a ‘normal’ growing season with reasonable amounts of sunshine and rainfall plus no late frosts. Is this really too much to ask for?