Chardonnay planting on increase as UK sees highest-ever production

Official wine production figures for the UK have been released and reveal that acreage in production is now the highest-ever recorded, showing a rise of over 60% in just five years.
Production data is collected after harvest by the Wine Standards Branch of the Food Standards Agency and submitted in Spring the following year. Their figures show that 2011 production exceeded three million bottles (3.02m)
This production figure is down from 2010, which saw a record-breaking harvest. Last year will be remembered as a challenging year for volume; however, right across the country vineyards reported that the quality of the fruit was superb and the resulting wines promise to deliver something special.
The year saw first full production harvests from some of the more recently-planted acreage, which added to the overall volume. There is a continued rise in the number of vineyards and acreage planted, with 419 vineyards from 404 recorded in 2010 and hectarage now 1,384 – a growth of 4.5% over 2010.
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Bacchus are showing a continuing growth on planting, with Chardonnay showing the highest increase. This reflects the continued growth of the sparkling wine sector, particularly in Southern England. More traditional varieties such as Muller Thurgau continue to decline.

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