English sparkling wine makers have toasted their fortunes after a corker year for domestic production saw them take a chunk out of Champagne’s market share yet again.
English bubbly’s retail sales increased by 16 per cent, while champagne sales plummeted by nine per cent, market research company Nielsen said.
A key player in the English wine industry is Kent-based Chapel Down, which enjoyed a 14 per cent bump in revenues to £17.9million in 2023.
The producer is the market leader in English fizz, with sales in restaurants and bars jumping by a tidy 26 per cent.
Chapel Down yielded a record harvest of 3,811 tonnes in 2023
And it’s not just Brits who are pouring away the champagne, with exports, driven by duty free sales, up by two-thirds.
Chapel Down CEO Andrew Carter said: “2023 was a landmark year for English Wine and Chapel Down, and it is great to see the strategic and operational progress that we have delivered, and the continuing sales momentum we have.
“Chapel Down is the market leader in an industry which is enjoying rapid and sustained growth, we have the strongest and most recognised brand, the deepest distribution which we continue to expand at pace, and we continue to win international acclaim for the quality of our wines.”
Chapel Down yielded a record harvest of 3,811 tonnes in 2023 – but they’re not the only big name at the top of their game.
Chapel Down made headlines a few years ago for making the largest ever bottle of English sparkling wine
Nyetimber, who run 11 vineyards across West Sussex, Hampshire and Kent, also posted record numbers: 3,395 tonnes of grapes in 2023 alone – their biggest ever crop.
Their CEO and owner Eric Heerema said: “In England, each vintage is unique, and 2023 represents a successful harvest for us.
“We will look to produce over two million bottles and our tastings show that our wines, though still in fermentation, are already showing impressive flavour diversity.”
The winemaking sector as a whole is the fastest-growing type of agriculture in the UK, Government figures say, and 68 per cent of that is sparkling wine.
“2023 was a landmark year for English Wine and Chapel Down”, CEO Andrew Carter said
By mid-2023, there were 943 vineyards across Great Britain – 98 per cent of which were in England.
That’s almost 4,000 hectares – an area wine companies expect to nearly double by 2032, according to a survey by WineGB.
Taittinger became the first French Champagne house to create a vineyard in the UK in 2015.
Their first bottles of sparkling wine are “eagerly anticipated” to be ready in time for 2024, they say.