Bumper grape harvest for south east wine producers

  • WATCH Tony Green's report on the bumper grape harvest in Kent and Sussex. He spoke to wine writer Oz Clarke, Ruth Simpson from Simpson's Wine, Hanna Heerema from Nyetimber and Sam Linter from UK Wine.

Once we might have been were scoffing at it - now we are quaffing it - wine is being made all over England and the climate and landscape of the south east is producing some of the best. 

And this summer's sunshine promises that the 2020 vintage is going to be exceptional - so say the experts including legendary wine critic Oz Clarke.

He grew up just a mile away from Simpson's wine Estate in the Elham Valley and told ITV Meridian the reputation of English wine is getting better and better.

"Even five years ago you'd find people saying: 'Oh English wine, no that won't be much good,' he said.

"It was the 2018 summer which did it because everyone has got a memory  of that fabulous summer that never seemed to end and it meant that everyone suddenly understood that of course we can grow grapes and make wine because its so warm and so last year and this year everyone  is buying English wine because they can remember the summer was so good"

Even five years ago you'd find people saying: 'Oh English wine, no that won't be much good.'

Oz Clarke, wine critic

Producers in Kent say patches of frost in late April had an impact on the quantity of grapes produced this year, but the long warm summer has meant the quality is excellent.

They are predicting a vintage year despite the uncertainty of Covid.

Much of Nyetimber's wine is sold to the hospitality industry which of course has been hard hit during lockdown. But they say they are seeing signs of recovery.

Industry bosses say they've seen communities buy more 'local' during the pandemic, so they are hoping wine lovers in the UK will turn to home-grown wine makers in the coming months.