The results of the latest Knight Frank Rural Sentiment Survey reveal that a significant number of UK landowners and farmers are considering some sort of diversification project post Brexit.

There is also a growing realisation that a new approach to land is required, an approach that looks beyond its traditional use, particularly in light of climate change.

Establishing a vineyard could be one option for those struggling to make money from conventional crops or looking for a new challenge.

Wine production is not new to the UK - according to industry body WineGB there are now over 10,000 acres of vines being cultivated by 522 commercial vineyards. Production, however, is growing rapidly. In terms of bottles, output rose from the equivalent of 6.3 million in 2014 to almost 16 million in 2018.

But establishing a vineyard is a long-term and capital intensive affair. How do you know if your land is suitable before taking the plunge?

Mapping tool

A new tool – the Vineyard suitability Mapping & Assessment Program (VineMAP) - created by Dr Alistair Nesbitt, CEO of Vinescapes, in conjunction with the University of East Anglia, aims to make that process simpler.

They have identified almost 82,000 acres of new prime viticultural land in England and Wales, larger than France’s Champagne region. Much of it in Essex and Suffolk, counties where currently there are relatively few vineyards.

Edward Dixon of Knight Frank’s Rural Asset Management team says a number of his clients are interested in potentially setting up a vineyard.

"English wine is now considered to be extremely good and wins numerous prizes, which makes it an attractive proposition to estates, especially those that have already established their own food and drink brands."

“A number of clients are already successfully producing their own wine, but it is a fairly risky business so tools like this that can help pinpoint the best areas for viticulture are very helpful.”

If you think your estate might be suitable for growing vines please contact Edward Dixon for further information

Find out more about Knight Frank’s Rural Asset Management team, which specialises in providing its clients with innovative strategies to help them make the most of their rural properties

Main Image: Edward Dixon with a client on their vineyard in Devon