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English Wine exports to hit high

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English wine could be the toast of the country’s farmers this week, with more than £100m in export sales expected this year for sparkling and still varieties combined, the environment secretary will announce on Wednesday.

Elizabeth Truss, secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, will tell a farmers’ meeting in Oxford on Wednesday: “Exports of English and Welsh wine are on course to break the £100m barrier this year, two thirds of it sparkling as our confident producers take the Australians, French and Italians on at what was their own game.”

Wine is only part of the story: beer exports have also been breaking records, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with more than a billion pints sold abroad last year.

Food and farming is now worth £103bn a year to the UK economy, employing one in eight of those in jobs in the UK, with exports at nearly £19bn.