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A member of the Frasers Hospitality Group

We’re proud sponsors of the first ever UK Wine Awards, and the search is now on to find and crown the UK’s very best wine.

Though it’s not new, there’s no denying that UK wine is finally having its ‘moment’. We’ve seen a growing demand for it in our hotels over the last few years and are stocking a bigger variety than ever before. This year a staggering one million vines will be planted in the UK – that’s more than ever before – and as wine luminary (and UK Wine Awards judge) Oz Clarke said, even “the French finally admit they like our wines”.

So in the spirit of celebrating UK wines, here are seven things you might not have known before…

Making wine in England and Wales isn’t new – it’s generally thought that it was the Romans who first introduced the vine to Britain. But many were ripped up during World War II when it was decided they were needed for growing food, and it’s taken the industry a long time to recover.

There are now some 500 vineyards in England and Wales, covering over 5000 acres of land in the UK. We have it on good authority that English wines are so popular that they are now regularly served at 10 Downing Street and during state functions.

They are even popular in France, with Gordon Ramsay listing not just one but several English wines at his restaurant in Bordeaux.

On average, five million bottles of wine are currently being produced in the UK every year. Over two thirds of that is sparkling wines, and it’s thought that production will double in the next five years.

A record-breaking one million vines will be planted this year, which will yield a further two million bottles and add an estimated £50m to the industry.

These vines will fill an estimated 625 acres – the equivalent of planting up the whole of London’s Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens combined.

In the last ten years the acreage planted with grapevines has grown by an astonishing 135% - this means that wine production is one of the fastest growing agricultural sectors in the UK.

Bottoms up!