The first disadvantage for British wine makers is the climate. Very unpredictable, cold and wet weather make it hard to not only produce wine of a consistent quality, but simply to keep vines alive. It is predicted that global warming will increase the amount of wine the United Kingdom will be able to manufacture.
Wine is grown in both England or Wales, mostly in the more temperate south east of England. Together there are 210 vineyards in the UK, with Denbies of Surrey being the largest with 265 acres of land. UK-produced wine accounts for a mere 1% of all the wine drunk in the country.
The grape variety most commonly grown in the United Kingdom is the German Muller Thurgau (sometimes known as Rivaner), which is suitable for the cold and wet climate, however the European Community has decreed six recommended varieties for the UK, as well as 12 authorised and 18 provisionally authorised varieties. Possibly the most successful UK wines are sparkling – the county of Sussex in particular has similar terroir to the Champagne region of France.
Note: English and Welsh wines should not be confused with ‘British wine’, which is wine that is made in the UK from imported grapes and usually of dubious quality.