1. ITV Report

Suffolk & Essex could rival France for wine according to study

Essex and Suffolk have been identified as the best areas in East Anglia for vineyards Credit: ITV News Anglia

Experts at the University of East Anglia say parts of the UK could rival the Champagne region of France for wine production.

Using new geographical analysis, scientists worked out that East Anglia is an area most suited to vineyards, in particular Suffolk and Essex.

The research team worked with wine producers in the study Credit: ITV News Anglia

"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."

– Prof Steve Dorling, UEA School of Environmental Sciences
Suffolk and Essex are ideal locations for vineyards according to new study. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"Interestingly, some of the best areas that we found are where relatively few vineyards currently exist such as in Essex and Suffolk - parts of the country that are drier, warmer and more stable year-to-year than some more established vineyard locations. The techniques we used also showed that many existing vineyards are not that well located, so there is definitely room for improvement and we hope our model can help boost future productivity."

– Lead author Dr Alistair Nesbitt

The research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and identified 35,000 hectares if prime land for vineyards, much of it in East Anglia, Kent and Sussex.