A lot of viticulturists can’t think further ahead than the next week – or even the next day – at present, as they fight to keep businesses afloat in these unprecedented times.
We all know the prerequisites for vines to thrive – south-facing, less than 300 feet above sea level, high average temperatures, low frost risk and free draining soils.
But often less appreciated is the fact that a successful vineyard has other requirements nearly as important as the quality of the land.
The acreage of vines planted in recent years is encouraging evidence of the huge optimism in the sector, but it’s creating a challenge which the industry is yet to fully address – where do we find the processing capacity?
Sam Barnes went to the SITEVI show in France two years ago with a very specific aim – to visit every machine harvesting stand and ask about potentially operating such a machine in Britain.
What? Where? When? How? Why? These are just some of the questions grape growers and wine makers should be asking themselves to help formulate a ‘route-to-market’ plan at the start of their journey into viticulture.
With figures suggesting vine plantings are set to double between 2019 and 2024 (having already done so between 2011 and 2018) taking production to 40m bottles per year, the GB wine sector is a hugely exciting one, says Grace O’Rourke Veitch, who has over 25 years’ experience of route-to-market strategies.
Article by Matthew Berryman and Grace O'Rourke Veitch Open PDF
In the last seven years the area under vines has doubled to over 3,500 hectares and there is no sign this trend is slowing down. It’s hardly surprising there is a loud buzz; with 500 commercial vineyards and 170 wineries there is a surge of optimism rarely found in traditional farming sectors.
Now is a great time to invest in buildings – it can increase efficiency, bring new opportunities and future-proof your business against whatever Brexit might bring. So is now the moment for vineyards to seize the initiative and start building?
Favourable permitted development regulations, the availability of cheap fi nance and the contribution that buildings can play to a rural business’s bottom line are prompting many to explore the options.
Right now, the only certainty is uncertainty. Whatever your views, 2019 will be a watershed and with only days until the big change few, if any, can reliably predict the winners and losers.
As frustrating as it is there is little point worrying about the economic landscape beyond 29 March.
29 March 2019 will be a watershed. Currently, the 33.6 million that voted in the referendum watch with increasing disbelief as UK leaders attempt to negotiate an exit from the European Union while parties fight openly among themselves. And as for the exit process this appears to do no more than stagger from side to side like a passenger aboard a cross channel ferry in rough seas!
For more than three decades farmers and land owners have been able to claim subsidy designed to support agricultural production and also to encourage environmental protection. Recently these have been worth in excess of £3 billion per annum to the UK land-based sector but their future is less certain as we approach Brexit.