Vineyards optimistic hot weather will lead to vintage year for wine
Vineyards are hopeful that recent high temperatures across the UK will create quality fruit and yields matching those of France's Champagne region.
The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) said that 2018 was set to be a vintage year thanks to a wet spring followed by the heatwave that led to early flowering vines and generous bunches of grapes which were "shaping up to provide a bountiful harvest".
WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: "The last bumper year for English wine was back in 2014 when good weather created ideal growing conditions for our grapes, with vineyards across the UK producing the equivalent of 6.3 million bottles of English and Welsh wine that year."
Vineyards were hoping 2018 would be "even better", he said.
Viticultural consultant Stephen Skelton added: "Vines like the heat. It's been the best year I've ever known. It's going to be a very early vintage, which is always good for quality. As for volume, we normally crop about one third of Champagne (region). This year I would guess we would match their level."