NFU Mutual is proud to support the growth of the UK wine industry as an exclusive partner with WineGB.
Over recent years, wine production in this country has seen real growth, with the area under vine increasing by almost 50% since 2015. We have seen a number of farms diversify into grape growing and wine making and large numbers of ‘new entrant’ vineyards have also been established.
NFU Mutual is committed to the viticulture, food and drink and hospitality sectors and our partnership with WineGB means that we are able to work with experts to ensure that our offering meets the needs of vineyard owners both today and in the future.
Booming industry is producing world-class wine
After half a century, English sparkling wine producers are beating the champagne makers across the Channel at their own game. Fifty years ago, the likelihood of somebody cracking open a bottle of English sparkling wine and declaring it better than champagne was slim. Then suddenly, English sparkling wine was beating champagne in blind taste tests and the market for domestically produced wine began to grow. English sparkling wine has been on an upwards trajectory for the past decade: in 2015 Waitrose announced that customers were buying 80% more English wine than at any time before. England has become one of the world’s fastest-growing wine-producing regions, and the number of producers across south Wales and southern England has increased by 60%.
It’s not just British sparkling wines that are enjoying international success either. Reds, often matured using oak, are increasingly being produced, although because of the damp and chilly UK winters they are often tougher to grow than a white or sparkling. Grapes including pinot noir and rondo work especially well in the chalky soils found in parts of Britain.
NFU Mutual and the wine making opportunity
There are currently about 500 vineyards in England and Wales, with the most award-winning ones scattered around the south coast. At NFU Mutual we have extensive experience in supporting farms that have diversified into grape growing and wine production, as well as new entrants to the sector.
Among them is Aldwick Estate, a fifth-generation farming business in Somerset that now produces award-winning wines. Sandy Luck, the estate’s managing director, says NFU Mutual has been supportive as Aldwick sought new opportunities for growth. “It’s great to have a local branch so close and to be able to talk to people face to face,” she says.
Another wine-making success story that we support is Kent-based Chapel Down. Its chief executive, Frazer Thompson, says: “We’ve been with NFU Mutual for over 17 years and we haven’t changed that relationship as it’s based on trust. It’s about dealing with people who understand your business and understand what we do, and NFU Mutual do that really well.”
Warmer climates and continued success stories like the above are creating a bright future for British wines, especially as vineyards can now potentially qualify for Agricultural Property Relief, meaning owners may be able to pass on land free of inheritance tax.
Tailored insurance for grape growers and wine makers
We’re committed to protecting and growing the UK wine industry. Our network of local offices can provide specialist, personal and professional advice for your vineyard and business. We’re here to help overcome any challenges and considerations, so you can rest easy knowing your business has got the right protection with flexible policies tailored specifically for you.
To find your local specialist viticulture Agent, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wine making at Court Garden
Will heads to East Sussex to learn how an historic sheep farm survived foot and mouth by diversifying into growing vines and making award-winning wine. He goes through the whole viticulture process and also finds out how the new business co-exists in harmony with sheep herd, as well as harnessing the power of the local community.