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A suitability model for viticulture in England and Wales: opportunities for investment, sector growth and increased climate resilience
A. Nesbitt, S. Dorling and A. Lovett

Despite continued investment and evidence of high quality wine production, English and Welsh wine grape yields remain low. To increase sector resilience to weather and climate risks we present the first combined terrestrial and climatic English and Welsh Viticulture Suitability (EWVS) model. Results show many existing vineyards (≥ 1 ha) are sub-optimally located. Limiting the model to the top 20% of suitable land in England and Wales resulted in 33,700 ha of prime viticulture land being identified, a scale just larger than the Champagne region of France. Beyond Kent and Sussex, large areas in Essex, with the warmest 30-year (1981–2010) Growing Season Average Temperature (13.9°C) on mainland Britain, and Suffolk, where few vineyards presently exist, appear especially suitable for viticulture. The EWVS model developed through this work allows, for the first time, a rapid assessment of land at local, regional and national scales to inform investment and policy related decisions.