Growing Kent & Medway partners help to grow the region’s burgeoning wine industry.

Based at NIAB EMR in East Malling, the UK now has a bespoke, state-of-the-art research winery and vineyard to underpin the rapidly expanding viticulture sector.  A team of scientists and viticulturalists will work with the NIAB EMR Viticulture Club which includes Growing Kent & Medway consortium members, Chapel Down and Gusbourne. Thanks to the new vine-to-wine R&D facilities, the team is now able to deliver much-needed scientific research, as the UK quality wine market continues its rapid growth.

The first pressing of the 2019 grape harvest was undertaken by MP for Tonbridge & Malling, Tom Tugendhat when he toured the 10,000m2 concept vineyard and research laboratory, and opened the new R&D winery facility. The event was also attended by the West Kent Partnership and the Kent and Medway Economic Partnership (KMEP), which is a member of the Growing Kent & Medway consortium.

Commenting on the visit, MP Tom Tugendhat said: “NIAB EMR continues to innovate and invest to ensure our community is at the heart of the burgeoning viticulture sector. The research vineyard, laboratory and winery will all play a significant part in the rapid growth of the UK wine industry.”

“It was an honour to make the first pressing of this year’s grape harvest and see for myself what a fantastic asset NIAB EMR continues to be for Kent.”

Dr Julien Lecourt, Head of Viticulture and Wine R&D said: “The UK wine industry is increasing by tens of millions of pounds per annum and urgently needs this bespoke research capability that focuses specifically on the country’s terroir and climate.”

Growing Kent & Medway is a world-class research, innovation and enterprise cluster that supports growth in technology-driven horticultural production, processing, food, and its supply chains. It is a diverse and dynamic collaboration that brings together innovative growers and processors, scientists, technologists, and entrepreneurs to deliver a shared goal of improving productivity and sustainability in the sector.