Denbies is Great Britain's largest and most tourist-friendly winery. Although the UK is one of the smallest wine producers in the EU, it is often considered to be the hub of the international trade in wine and, as a result, has a thriving industry stretching from importers and bottlers through to freight forwarders and retailers. The Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA) was established in 1824 representing all elements of the supply chain.
Grape Varieties of UK
Principal grape varietals grown in England and Wales are Reichensteiner, Bacchus, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Muller Thurgau and Seyval Blanc. Most of which are almost unknown to most British wine drinkers. Out of the top ten countries of origin for UK imports, six are outside the European Union. Australia is the largest exporter to the UK, accounting for 2.5 million hectolitres in 2004. They are followed by France, which accounts for 2.3 million hl and the USA which accounts for 1.5 million hl. The UK is the second largest importer by volume in the EU, very closely behind Germany. Currently currently showing a total of 362 registered vineyards, consisting of 923 hectares, in England and Wales, English and Welsh wines account for less than 1% of the total wine sold in the UK
UK Quality Wine Scheme
The UK introduced its Quality Wine Scheme in 1991. The motive was to help market the best English and Welsh wines. Wines submitted to this scheme must meet strict criteria covering demarcation of production areas, vine varieties, cultivation, wine making methods and maximum yields. They must also be subjected to an analytical test assessing physical and chemical components of the wine, as well as an organoleptic tasting.
Wines meeting these strict criteria can display the phrase 'English Vineyards Quality Wine psr' or 'Welsh Vineyards Quality Wine psr' on their label. The system is not dissimilar to that of the French Appellation Controlée system. PSR means Produced in Specified Regions.
UK Regional Wine Scheme
The UK Regional Wine Scheme was introduced on 1st April 1997. According to that scheme, wines must meet certain analytical and organoleptic criteria but the rules are less strict on use of vine varieties.
UK producers may operate under the rules of both the UK Quality Wine Scheme and the UK Regional Wine Scheme. The United Kingdom Vineyards Association (UKVA) is the main producer association representing the majority of UK vineyards. English Wine Producers (EWP) is a voluntary group of leading English vineyards working in close association with the UKVA.