Predictions are never easy, but 2012 has all the foundations to be a good year for the English wine industry due to the naturally high sugars that occurred in 2011 which should produce excellent still wine – both white and red – which can rival the already renowned high quality of our English sparkling wine. The New Year also brings with it some big celebrations, not least the Olympics and Queen’s Jubilee in the summer months, and an increasing interest in English local produce, which can only help the English wine scene. I think we will see more of the big English wine producers selling their goods to the on trade, which will hopefully benefit the smaller producers who can benefit from the marketing of these larger companies and English wines increasingly getting out there.
However, the smaller harvest experienced last year could make it tougher economically for all smaller producers, crop levels were down on previous years, and although the quality has risen will the consumer part with more money to reflect this rise in quality? Ultimately it comes down to getting the message out there that the quality of the wine is improving year on year, and that the product is very good.

For the £10 price category I would confidently pitch English wine up against wine from around the world. This is a hand crafted product from these shores that is a true reflection of England and Wales, a product I think that is worth paying for….

On a personal front, plans are afoot for expansion of the vineyard at Renishaw Hall; in the short term a doubling in the amount of vines on site – I am planning to plant a red variety as the demand is absolutely there. The next logical stage will be the establishment of my own wine making facility and increased external consultancy for people interested in all aspects of English wine production. I have just launched my own consultancy website to meet this demand, offering services from vineyard establishment and wine education through to PR, marketing and sales. I currently have listed on the site wines I know well and have a link to, like Plumpton College and Halfpenny Green. It seems crazy that knowing about and buying English wine is a relatively difficult process – hopefully this website can make this easier.

Kieron Atkinson
Winegrower, Renishaw Hall

See also:
Cultivating a future on Civvy Street