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Essex 'could become site of leading vineyards'

Changing levels of temperature and rainfall could make Essex the ideal place to produce wine. Credit: PA

Britain could be a major wine producer and exporter by 2100 - with Essex becoming the site of leading vineyards - a study has found.

Britain's changing levels of temperature and rainfall could produce ideal conditions for sauvignon blanc and chardonnay in as yet unfamiliar wine areas, according to the University College London study for Laithwaite's Wine.

The study predicts changes to British viticulture over the next 85 years. Credit: PA

Professor Mark Maslin and Lucien Georgeson used average temperature and rainfall conditions required for growing different grape varieties with predicted changes in climate to map changes to British viticulture over the next 85 years.

They worked on the theory that temperatures are expected to increase by at least a further 2.2C by 2100 and rainfall will increase by 5.6%.

The study said malbec could be produced in the Thames Estuary area in places such as Romford and Southend.

Malbec could be produced in the Thames Estuary, the study suggests. Credit: PA

"Climate is critical to successful grape cultivation. This study could signal how we think long-term about British wine production and redraw the future wine map of the world.

"However, exactly where would be best for particular grapes will depend on site, slope, aspect, soil and drainage as wine-making is as much an art as it is a science."

– Professor Mark Maslin, University College London