Lessons from the recent WineGB Industry Conference
By David Brown and Hamish Kirwan, Bevica Implementation Consultants
We recently had the great pleasure to attend WineGB’s Industry Conference for 2023. This year’s sell-out conference featured talks on a range of subjects rather than focusing on one topic, including viticulture, winemaking, sustainability, business, and marketing.
The WineGB conference programme included a range of UK and international speakers from the wine trade and beyond. A real highlight was the keynote speech from renowned wine critic, journalist and writer Jancis Robinson MW. Jancis gave a hugely inciteful summary of global wine industry trends and how they impact on English and Welsh wines. One interesting point that she made was that businesses should be documenting their learnings from the pandemic as there will inevitably be another world event that shakes the industry and both they, and other businesses in the industry, need to be prepared if this happens.
Dr Greg Cielniak, Associate Professor of Agri-Robotics at the Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology, also provided a fascinating introduction into how robotics is being used to shape a low-impact revolution in viticulture.
Key messages both of us took from the conference include:
- The current growth in the UK winemaking industry is phenomenal. There is now more land being used to cultivate vines than there is to grow soft fruit. Vineyard plantings have doubled since 2015 and are forecast to double again in the next ten years. WineGB, as the voice of the British winemaking industry, therefore has an important role to play in lobbying government on the importance and value of the industry to the British economy.
- Tourism and direct-to-consumer selling both play a significant role in the revenue streams of British wineries. The recent WineGB Tourism Survey highlighted that wineries make 30-60% of their revenue through tourist activities, such as tours and tasting events, and direct selling to consumers. It is, therefore vital that wineries in local regions collaborate, rather than compete, with each other.
- It is also essential to factor in sustainability in grape growing. By doing this, wineries will not only meet the commercial expectations of distributor and consumers but will become long-term stewards to the land they grow their grapes on.
- It is essential that the British wine-making industry embraces the opportunities offered to it by technology. From the robotic advancements being used to grow the grapes to the role software solutions, such as Bevica, can play in improving the financial and operational running of the business, technology has a very important role to play in the economic success of the industry in general and the individual wine businesses within it.
Developed over the last 20 years and powered by Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Bevica is a powerful best practice software solution that has been designed specifically for businesses in the drinks industry. Bevica is a Silver Patron of WineGB. For more information about Bevica and how it can help your business, contact us.
About Wine GB
Wines of Great Britain (WineGB) is the national organisation for grape growers and winemakers. It promotes, represents and supports the interests of all sizes of vineyards and wine producers in England and Wales, whilst providing a wide range of services and benefits for its members.