Experts Say It Won’t Be Long Until Britain Has as Many Vineyards as Europe

Get ready to drink pinot grigio made in Newcastle.
Phoebe Hurst
London, GB
December 1, 2016, 12:47pm
Photo via Flickr user .christoph.G.

In recent years, we've begun to get our heads around the idea of British wine not as something your weird Uncle Frank attempts to make with blackberries and sterilising equipment, but an actual, drinkable alternative to tipples from the Continent. English sparkling wine has won awards across the world, and the Welsh valleys are producing Bordeaux to rival … erm, Bordeaux.

READ MORE: English Sparkling Wine Is the New Champagne

And now, a study from University College London (UCL) and Laithwaites Wine predicts that in years to come, British vino will not only be on par with that of European winemaking regions, but may even surpass them.

Studying the predicted changes in temperature to British viticulture over the next 85 years, UCL researchers Mark Maslin and Lucien Georgeson estimated that the country's temperature would rise by 2.2 degrees Celsius by 2100, and rainfall by 5.6 percent. They then compared these changes to the temperature and rainfall needed to grow different grape varieties.

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The results? Britain may be one of Europe's biggest wine exporters by 2100, as temperatures increase and ideal grape-growing conditions are created.

Maslin and Gergeson predicted that land surrounding the Thames Estuary in the south east of England could become the ideal condition in which to made Malbec, while changes to climate in the Midlands could make the area perfect for producing grape varieties such as Chardonnay and Riesling. Even locations as far north as Edinburgh and Newcastle are predicted to become suitable for producing white wine within generations.

READ MORE: Global Warming Is Turning the Welsh Valleys into a Wine Hotspot

Commenting on the results of the study, Maslin told the Evening Standard: "Climate is critical to successful grape cultivation. 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 winemaking is as much an art as it is a science."

Maybe give it a few more years before we start chugging back the Scottish wine, though.