By Andrea Romano
May 29, 2019
John Miller/Getty Images

The hottest place for European wines isn’t France or Italy — it might just be Great Britain.

According to Harpers, Wine of Great Britain (Wine GB) has announced that three million vines have been planted in 2019, which is nearly twice as much as what was planted last year (1.6 million vines).

This incredible growth has created an extra 1,705 acres in vineyards, or a 24 percent increase of land being used for wine harvest. But this isn’t exactly a happy accident.

British winemakers have been working steadily toward a thriving wine industry within the country, and it seems they’re on the right track. In fact, some would say that Britain’s sparkling wines can rival that of French champagne.

And some wineries have been gaining reputations for themselves as being premier destinations for connoisseurs, including Camel Valley Vineyard, whose wines were served at Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s royal wedding. Nothing like a bump from the royal family.

Wine GB chairman Simon Robinson said the news was “another milestone in the growth of our fantastic industry,” in a statement to Harpers.

He added that Wine GB hopes that British winemakers will be producing 40 million bottles per year within the next 20 years. Last year, the summer and harvest yielded around 15.6 million bottles, which is about three times the usual annual average of 5.5 million bottles, according to Harpers. So, they’re almost halfway there already.

Southeast England is already a major hotspot for wineries in the country, including Kent, Sussex, and Hampshire counties. Other areas including Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, Devon, Somerset, Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, and Wales have seen some recent growth as well.

The news also coincides with English Wine Week, which spans between May 25 and June 2. There couldn’t be a better time to raise a glass.

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