Raise a glass to grow­ing suc­cess of our wine-mak­ers

Western Morning News - - News - BY KEITH ROSSITER

Bri­tain’s wine-mak­ers could be on track to beat the French at their own game – and Devon and Corn­wall are well placed to cash in.

A de­tailed study of land and cli­mate has iden­ti­fied 33,700 hectares of prime land – an area larger than the Cham­pagne re­gion of France, and on sim­i­lar ter­rain.

Cli­mate change is pro­pel­ling the re­gion’s wine­mak­ers into the front rank.

Corn­wall has 341 hectares rated in the top 5% for soil type, rain­fall and sun­shine, more than ten times the size of the Camel Val­ley es­tate, the county’s big­gest vine­yard.

Devon is even bet­ter off, with 150 hectares of top qual­ity land, ac­cord­ing to the study by the Uni­ver­sity of East An­glia, pub­lished to­day in the Jour­nal of Land Use Sci­ence.

The re­searchers used new tech­niques to as­sess and grade ev­ery 50 x 50 me­tre plot of land in Eng­land and Wales to iden­tity the ideal spots for new vine­yards.

Based on ter­rain alone Devon and Corn­wall, along with North York­shire, Hamp­shire, Nor­folk and Es­sex and Suf­folk, were the best. But when cli­mate was taken into ac­count, Kent, Sus­sex, Es­sex and Suf­folk were the best re­gions to start new vine­yards.

Bob Lindo, founder of the Camel Val­ley es­tate in North Corn­wall, said they had been keep­ing records. “It’s now a poly­tun­nel warmer than when we first started,” he said.

“This year’s har­vest is our best ever.”

He said there were very few places with ideal con­di­tions, but Eng­land was bet­ter placed to ex­pand. Be­cause of tight lim­i­ta­tions in France, land in the Cham­pagne re­gion changes hands for £1 mil­lion a hectare.

Prof Steve Dor­ling from UEA said: “English and Welsh vine­yards are boom­ing, and their wine is win­ning in­ter­na­tional ac­claim.

“This sum­mer’s heat­wave has led to a record grape har­vest and a vin­tage year for English and Welsh wine, prompt­ing great in­ter­est in in­vest­ment and land op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“But de­spite a trend of warm­ing grape-grow­ing sea­sons, this sea­son has been quite un­usual in terms of weather.

“English and Welsh grape yields are gen­er­ally quite low and vari­able by in­ter­na­tional stan­dards, so we wanted to iden­tify the best places to plant vine­yards and im­prove the sec­tor’s re­silience to the UK’s of­ten fickle weather.”

Last year Camel Val­ley be­come the first UK wine pro­ducer to re­ceive a Pro­tected Des­ig­na­tion Ori­gin from the EU. A sim­i­lar study by the Uni­ver­sity of Ex­eter in 2016 iden­ti­fied Camel Val­ley’s Darni­bole vine­yard as be­ing in the top 3% of UK sites.

Sam Lindo,, chief wine maker at from the Camel Val­ley Vine­yard in Nanstal­lon, at the start of this year’s har­vest

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