British retailer Waitrose announced this week that it will increase its investment in the English and Welsh wine industry and the production of quality, differentiated private brand wine. In response to customer demand, the supermarket has planted 50% more vines at its own vineyard on the Leckford Estate in Hampshire.

The new vines will extend the production of their private brand Leckford Estate Brut, which is made with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes. The Leckford Estate vineyard currently produces 30,000 bottles of private brand sparkling wine per year, depending on harvest conditions, and the new vines are expected to boost production to 45,000 bottles of Leckford Estate Brut. This year’s harvest will be ready to drink by by 2021. The sparkling wine, which was launched with the maiden 2011 vintage, is made by award-winning winemakers Ridgeview at their state-of-the-art winery in Sussex.

Becky Hull MW, English and Welsh wine buyer for Waitrose, says: ‘We have always put a great deal of time and energy into our English and Welsh wine range. Our customers have already given Leckford Brut a warm welcome, so we’re thrilled that we can invest in more vines on our Waitrose farm in Hampshire to make even more fantastic homegrown wine for the future.’

Waitrose is also the first supermarket to export English wine to China. As part of the supermarket’s continued support of the English wine industry, four English sparkling wines are being sold through the Royal Mail store on Tmall, an online marketplace operated by Alibaba Group.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the President of My Private Brand and the Co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, and consultant who has worked with Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro, Lowe’s, Food Lion, Hannaford and more building private brands. Durham has published five definitive books on private brands including his first book Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his latest book Vanguard: Vintage Originals a look at innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife Laraine and two daughters Olivia and Sarah.