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 is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). 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 newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.