UK Sees Surge in Wine Tourism

WineGB has released its first wine tourism report, revealing a significant surge in visits to UK vineyards and wineries. The recent findings indicate that visits have surged by 55% in the past two years, underscoring the growing popularity of wine tourism in England and Wales.

The report further indicates that 1.5 million people visited UK vineyards and wineries last year, accounting for a quarter of the total income for these establishments. The industry anticipates continued growth and investment, with WineGB forecasting further expansion in the coming years.

WineGB’s 2024 Industry Survey, which captured responses from over 130 members accounting for more than 90% of UK wine production, provides a detailed snapshot of the sector’s forward momentum. The survey reveals that there are currently 300 vineyards and wineries actively engaged in wine tourism.

Among the top activities attracting visitors include:

275 cellar doors and shops
260 guided tours and tastings
103 venues for hire
97 self-guided tours
92 places to stay and eat
38 picnic areas

A notable 42% of inbound visitors expressed high interest in visiting a winery. According to Nicola Bates, CEO of WineGB, commented on the report’s findings: “Our Manifesto for Growth identified essential policies for accelerating our sector’s development. Today’s report showcases the immense value and importance of wine tourism in our industry. It’s our call to action for policy changes in tax, planning, and marketing to unlock the full potential of wine tourism and reach 16 million visitors.

Wines of Great Britain announced Nicola Bates as its new CEO

Wines of Great Britain (WineGB) has just announced the appointment of former Portman Group Strategy Director Nicola Bates as its new CEO.

Bates’ appointment commences October 30, 2023, following news earlier this year that the organization’s former chief executive Simon Thorpe MW had stepped down.

Bates is WineGB’s first female CEO and joins a panel of women leading the association, with Sam Linter as chair.

Linter states: “I am delighted to appoint Nicola as the new CEO of WineGB. The WineGB Board was looking for a specific set of skills and experience that are required to deliver success for the organization and industry as we enter a new phase of maturity. During an extensive recruitment process, Nicola demonstrated the experience and diverse skillset required to run a growing trade association with a rapidly increasing external focus.

We look forward to introducing Nicola into the UK wine industry and have an intensive immersion planned to provide a strong grounding in the strategic imperatives and intricacies of our industry and organization.”

Bates previously held the role of director of strategy and external affairs at the Portman Group, the social responsibility body and regulator for alcohol labeling, packaging and promotion in the UK.

Bates commented on her new role: “Others may disagree, but this has to be the best job in wine. With production having doubled over the past five years, and set again to repeat this substantial achievement, I am overjoyed to be a part of the next phase of growth for English and Welsh wines. The sector will likely soon face the challenges that come with such success, and this is where WineGB steps in with its significant role to shape the workforce, the customer experience, and the reputation. I look forward to meeting members, patrons, funders, and the wider industry to learn how WineGB can continue to be your partner and deliver for the future.”