Thursday 13 October 2016 3:34 pm

English Wine Producers says homegrown industry is set for an "exceptional" harvest this year

The UK's wine makers are gearing up for an "exceptional", high-quality vintage this year, according to an industry body. 

Harvests at some homegrown vineyards began in mid-September, though the main bulk of the grapes will be harvested now and over the next fortnight. 

English Wine Producers, the marketing body representing the English and Welsh wine industry, said a warm and dry August and September that continued into the beginning of October allowed the UK's vines to produce "high quality" fruit, despite a "challenging" start to the growing season in some areas. 

Read more: How Nyetimber put English wines on the map

"Overall, 2016 is looking to be a fantastic vintage for the UK," said Julia Trustram Eve, marketing director at English Wine Producers.

"We haven’t experienced any dramatic weather patterns such as seen in other parts of Europe and have had the benefit of some great summer and early autumn weather just when our grapes need it."

Trustram Eve added that while it was too early to predict yields, they are so far looking to remain a "good average" and more acres of vines are due to come into full production this year.

Sparkling wine producer Lawrence Warr of Henners Bineyard, based in East Sussex, said: "It’s looking like a fantastic year in the vineyard. The fruit is plentiful and ripening apace. The wonderfully warm summer has led to early ripening. It looks like another great year."

Read more: This is why English and Welsh wine production dipped in 2015

Yields in some regions of France, particularly Burgundy, have been affected by freak weather and frosts this year.

Burgundy wines, which include chablis, could face a price hike as yields are forecast to fall by to 27 per cent for some producers

The English wine industry gained more fizz last year, when 37 new wine producers and vineyards opened. A total of 170 new producers have entered the domestic industry over the past five years, according to accountancy group UHY Hacker Young.