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Chateau Peckham? Changing weather could make UK big wine exporter

Time:2016-12-01 17:29wine - Red wine life health Click:

Wine Chateau weather Make Could

Glass of white wine.

Image Caption: Britain's wine industry is growing but a study says it could become a major exporter

Changing weather patterns could see Britain become a major wine producer and exporter by the turn of the century, according to a study.

An increase in rainfall and temperature look set to transform parts of the UK into perfect growing environments for a number of grape varieties.

It could mean ideal conditions for sauvignon blanc and chardonnay in unlikely areas such as Peckham in south London and Milton Keynes.

By 2100, Britain's wines may be able to compete on the same level as those from famous French regions such as Burgundy and Beaujolais, according to the study.

University College London researchers looked at the conditions needed for certain grape varieties alongside the expected changes in climate in the next 85 years.

Their work was based on the theory that temperatures will go up by at least 2.2C by 2100 and rainfall will increase by 5.6%.

This left the Black Country looking set to be the centre for a number of grape types including chardonnay, riesling, pinot noir and sauvignon blanc.

The area between Newcastle and Edinburgh could be the best place for pinot grigio; Malbec could suit the Thames Estuary area while the Severn Pocket would be a good spot for merlot.

Professor Mark Maslin, one of the researchers, said climate is "critical" to grape cultivation.

He added: "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."

Wine and Spirit Trade Association chief executive Miles Beale said: "English wine is a fast-growing industry with bold ambitions to boost production.

"In the last 10 years the area of planted vines in the UK has more than doubled and is set to grow by a further 50% by 2020, so it comes as no surprise that the study by UCL is predicting a creep of vines spreading their way across the UK over the next 85 years.

"For an acre of land planted for agricultural use in Britain it is estimated the return is around £300. The return on your investment if you plant grapes is around £3,000 per acre and if you turn those grapes into wine the return is £30,000 per acre.

"Vineyards are great news for rural communities and their economies, providing more and better job opportunities.

"They look set to become an enduring feature in modern day farming in the UK."

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