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“Breakthrough harvest” for English Wine, declares Balfour

At Balfour we’re toasting a record vintage – which we believe could represent a seismic shift for the industry. But it’s not just the quantity which has blown us away. 

What made this such a record-breaking harvest?

From our vineyards in Kent, plus our estates in Essex and Sussex, Balfour will produce over 870,000 bottles in 2023 – a 132% increase on 2022 (375,000 bottles) and far beyond any other previous record in our twenty-one-year history. 

Many English vineyards have seen increased yields this year after a wet summer and dry autumn provided perfect grape growing conditions. Winelovers will feel the legacy of the 2023 harvest could be felt for years to come.

What should you be keeping an eye out for, in 2024?

But it’s not just quantity, Head winemaker Fergus Elias at Balfour argues, which marks this year out. Whilst much of England’s fledgling wine reputation is based around Sparkling Wines – 2023 could see a rise in more still wines and, in particular, English Chardonnay being drunk in the UK and beyond.

“In 2023 we’ve seen a real surge of interest in English Chardonnay and we have even secured a fantastic export deal to Norway for our Skye’s Chardonnay 2022. We predict that trend will continue to grow, as this year’s harvest has seen some of the best chardonnay I’ve ever been lucky enough to work with,” he explains.

Where will all that wine go? 

For those who enjoy Balfour’s award-winning wines, keep an eye on our online store and Cellar Door shelves from spring onwards. This is when we will begin to release the wines from this record-breaking harvest – or enjoy Balfour’s wines in Michelin-starred restaurants, such as Sketch, alongside national retailers like Tesco, Majestic and M&S.

“Even before this year, we were challenging the likes of France for global listings of our still wines – and winning market share. English Wine is now being enjoyed in America, Japan, Australia and in the Scandinavian nations, which already accounts for 1 in 4 exported bottles. And we believe this will continue to grow over the coming years”. 

The numbers behind a record-breaking harvest…

  • Our teams harvested an area equivalent to over 277 football fields worth of vineyards in just over four weeks.
    • In total our incredible viticulturalists harvested an eye-watering 400,000 vines
    • Included in that was over 96,000 chardonnay vines
    • 115,000 Pinot Noir vines
    • and even 7,000 Albarino vines (that last crop to come in)
  • Our winery team worked around the clock, taking in over 820 tonnes of grapes in 2023.
    • That’s the same weight as over 200 elephants.
    • Every single grape was processed, crushed and is already beginning to make wine
    • And we used over 112 tanks to do it with
  • And to keep them going, our winery team also got through a record 57 Cornish pasties
    • Plus 148 crumpets, and 7kg of coffee
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