The United Kingdom Vineyards Association has secured a significant slice of EU funding to study and benchmark the sustainability of the English and Welsh wine industry.
The funding forms part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) allocated to up-skilling the industry, in recognition of its emerging status on the world wine scene.
Last year UK grape growers identified the need for a comprehensive benchmarking project, and this new study is aimed at finding out how sustainable the industry currently is, working out priorities for action and recommending the way forward.
The scope of sustainability will encompass economic and social strands to UK vineyards and wineries as well as environmental.
After a competitive tender the UKVA has commissioned Laurence Gould Partnership Limited to carry out the work, which will be completed in autumn 2011.
Chris Gallimore, Chairman of the UKVA Sustainability Group said:
“We are delighted that this funding has been agreed. It will be used to find out where the UK currently stands.
“We think the UK wine industry actually has quite good green credentials but we need to benchmark ourselves against other countries, exchange good practice and develop training or other training resources where necessary.
“This project will establish a baseline for us to measure our progress against and is an important milestone in the UK wine industry’s coming of age.”
UK wine production is an emerging industry with an improving image and great potential.
Land planted with vines is increasing rapidly, but it is a widely distributed industry, with small, medium and large enterprises.
The sector can contribute in increasing degrees to UK targets on carbon emissions, biodiversity and soil health and it is already contributing to rural employment, tourism and gastronomy.
The United Kingdom Vineyards Association (UKVA) is the primary trade association for English and Welsh grape growers and wine producers.
The UKVA is the only organisation recognised by the government and the wider community as representing the English and Welsh wine industry with direct access to and contact with all official bodies connected to our industry such as Defra, the Food Standards Agency (Wine Standards Branch), Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMR&C), and the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.
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