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4 July 2024

‘Dynamic’ Welsh Wine Industry Targets Tenfold Growth

Ambitious growth plans for the Welsh wine industry aim to see its value increased tenfold to reach £100 million by 2035.

The sector has already seen a huge increase in the volume of wine produced in Wales, as well as a raft of international awards won by wines from around the country.

Lauren Smith is a Category and Cluster Manager at Levercliff, a food and drink category consultancy which runs the Welsh Government’s Drinks Cluster.

“The future for the Welsh wine industry looks really bright thanks to pioneering vineyard owners, the great fruit which is grown in Wales, and very distinctive microclimates and landscapes,” said Lauren.

“We have close to 50 vineyards registered in Wales, and we have new vineyards coming on board all the time. Data from the Food Standards Agency in 2022 shows an increase of 115% in the total volume of wine produced in Wales versus the previous year, which is significant growth.

“The vision for Welsh wine is that Wales will be a dynamic and sustainable wine region.”

At the heart of this vision is the Welsh Wine Strategy, which is industry-led and therefore crafted by the vineyards for the vineyards in collaboration with the Welsh Government Drinks Cluster. It serves as a roadmap not only for expanding production but also for enhancing the quality and recognition of Welsh wines.

“We're really looking at exclusive, niche and ultimately high-quality wines,” Lauren said.

The strategy’s focus on sustainability and innovation is expected to develop a unique Welsh wine identity, fostering a strong, cohesive brand presence both online and in the global market.

Welsh vineyards are increasingly recognised for their quality, as evidenced by their success in prestigious international competitions. Producers such as White Castle Vineyard and Montgomery Vineyard have won accolades at the Decanter World Wine Awards and the International Wine Challenge. Ancre Hill Estates’ 2013 Blanc de Blancs was hailed as the best white sparkling wine in the world at the Bollicine del Mondo, beating renowned French champagnes.

The strategy also highlights the significant potential for Wales of ‘wine tourism’. Lauren described how tastings, tours, and events will draw visitors to Wales.

Skills development and innovation is also core to the strategy.

“We're doing a lot of work with the Welsh Government Skills Programme and other bodies to make sure that we can build on that,” said Lauren.

The commitment to upskilling and branding is crucial, as it ensures the industry can maintain its momentum and adapt to changing market dynamics.

Working together is also key to seeing the industry flourish, said Lauren. At a recent Welsh Wine Week trade tasting in Cardiff, several attendees were impressed with the collegiate nature of the sector in Wales, she said.

“Ultimately we all want to see the industry flourish so working together is the best way we can do that,” said Lauren.

“I think going forward we're going to see more innovation from the producers, increasing numbers of high-quality wines, and see the industry go from strength to strength as more people visit us.”

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