The WSTA are delighted to have brought together senior players from the UK wine sector for the first ever English Wine Round Table at Defra HQ, earlier this month.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss met UK wine producers to discuss how the Government and industry can work together to help fulfil the sector’s potential.

WSTA Chief Executive Miles Beale led the discussions which covered three main themes: increasing production and area under vine, improved data collection and increasing exports.

The input from all attending was extremely positive and led to pledges to ten increase English wine exports tenfold, from 250,000 bottles to 2.5 million bottles by 2020.

In terms of value this would be an export increase from £3.2 million to over £30 million by 2020.

Miles Beale and the SoS Liz Truss were joined by a host of representatives from the UK’s top vineyards – including Bolney, Rathfinny, Chapel Down, Ridgeview, Nyetimber and Biddenden as well as supermarket giant Waitrose.

It was noted that the sector had seen significant growth over the last few years and everyone agreed that future looks even brighter.

Area under vine has more than doubled since 2009, production is set to double from 2015 to 2020 and there is no reason why similar rates of increase cannot be seen to 2030 and beyond.  

The Round Table also highlighted English wine’s significant contribution to the rural economy and the potential to create a large number of skilled jobs, boost to rural tourism and support the UK’s hospitality sector. 


The discussion covered a number of issues that face the sector such as overly restrictive planning rules and access to pesticides as well as the role apprenticeships might play in meeting the growing demand for skilled workers.

The Round Table has galvanized the sector to work more collaboratively and top producers have recently undertaken an exercise to collect and collate more detailed data, not only on production but also on levels of employment and investment. 

While very much a work in progress at this moment in time, the data has already been used as a basis for the industry’s revised growth forecasts.  The Round Table also heard how recently released Government LIDAR data has been used together with climate modelling to identify the most optimum potential vineyard sites.  

Miles Beale said: “English wine is earning itself a world class reputation for quality. And with government support there is a sparkling future ahead. English wine’s potential and ambitions for rapid growth are clear in the aims, agreed today, to double production and to see exports increasing ten-fold by 2020.

“The first ever English Wine Round Table was a fantastic opportunity to have a full and frank conversation about how Government can support the industry to meet its goals by 2020.”

Plans for the next round table event were discussed and are expected to take place in late September.

Want to know more? Ask Jessica Norman
Jessica Norman

Jessica Norman - Head of Membership & Events

Jessica is responsible for all internal and external WSTA events and the day-to-day operations of the WSTA. Her role includes liaising and coordinating suppliers, inhouse design, inventory, and IT.

Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 020 7089 3884

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