Giffords Hall Vineyard see a growth in overseas demand for English wines
- Credit: Archant
Suffolk-based wine grower Linda Howard has backed proposals for a new law obliging British embassies and consulates overseas to serve English wines at official events and functions.
Mrs Howard, who runs Future 50 business Giffords Hall Vineyard near Long Melford with her husband Guy, says the bill, which was approved for introduction by the House of Commons last month, will help promote a growing number of English wine producers in a post-Brexit world.
“English embassies should be showcasing British produce wherever they can,” she said.
“It is part of their job and shouldn’t only apply to English wines but to other UK products such as meat and cheese.
“With Brexit looking more likely, there is an increased onus on exports and this is one way to promote English wines abroad.
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“This could be incredibly effective in places like China where the British label still means a lot.”
Mrs Howard’s comments come after South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge recently named Giffords Hall Vineyard as an example of a successful English wine producer during a debate on the new bill in parliament.
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The vineyard expects to produce up to 19,000 bottles of wine and sparkling wine this year. The business sells most of the produce from its 30-acre estate wholesale and now supplies both Waitrose and Marks and Spencer, as well as having a healthy online sales presence.
And, according to Mrs Howard, buyers from across the globe are increasingly aware of English wines.
She said: “Since the turn of the year, we have sold to buyers in Belgium, South Africa and Australia, and had enquiries from Germany and the Middle East. English wines are something new and also attractive to buyers overseas because of the weak pound.”
Evidence that the English wine market is growing was signalled last week with industry body English Wine Producers reporting that a record-breaking one million vines are due to be planted in the UK this year.
Giffords is already taking advantage of the current interest to expand its cellar door and tourism business and reports that demand for visits to the vineyard have doubled in the past year with more than 350 people booked for private tours of the winery this summer.