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The United Kingdom Vineyards Association UKVA, has secured EU funding to study and benchmark the sustainability of the English and Welsh wine industry.
Forming part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) the funding is allocated to up-skill the industry, in recognition of its emerging global status.
It will encompass economic and social strands to UK vineyards and wineries as well as environmental.
Last year UK grape growers identified the need for a comprehensive benchmarking project, this new study is aimed at finding out how sustainable the industry currently is, and will work out priorities for action.
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 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 land planted with vines 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.
It is already contributing to rural employment, tourism and gastronomy.
Story by Carol Emmas
Courtesy of Harpers Wine and Spirit Trades Review