English wine production was down almost 20 percent in 2016, but a record number of vines are set to be planted in 2017, according to English Wine Producers (EWP) new data. The EWP released its report just ahead of last week\u2019s Annual Trade & Press Tasting.\r\n\r\nThe EWP said 2 million fewer bottles were produced last year than during record-breaking 2014, which saw 6.3 million bottles. Coupled with a late-spring frost that hit England and France, 2017 is likely to also fall short.\r\n\r\nGrowers in Sussex and Kent appeared to be particularly hard hit. Vineyards closer to the coasts tended to avoid the worst of the damage.\r\n\r\nNeil Taylor, a partner at Reynolds Estate Wines and head of data at the London Vinters Exchange, said, \u201cIt wouldn't surprise me if in some areas yields are down by as much as 50 percent or more on the older vines and by as much as 80 percent on the younger vines.\u201d\r\n\r\nChris Foss, head of the Plumpton College Wine Department, said the frost hit vineyards hard. \u201cThe thing is, I\u2019ve been in wine 40 years, and this is the worst I\u2019ve seen. It\u2019s not just us, Champagne\u2019s been hit, Bordeaux\u2026loads of people have been hurt,\u201d he said.\r\n2017 To Be Record Planting Year\r\nDespite unpredictability, confidence in the English wine industry remains high. In the last 10 years, hectarage (acreage) of planted vines has more than doubled and the EWP predicts 50 percent additional growth by 2020, resulting in 10 million bottles produced.\r\n\r\nOne million vines are set to be planted this year\u2013the largest amount ever in a single year\u2013two-thirds of which will be devoted to creating sparkling wine.\r\n\r\n\u201cWith Waitrose now having\u00a0its own vineyard, 600 acres of vines being planted at Rathfinny, and\u00a0Tattinger planting a vineyard in Sussex, it is hard to say\u00a0English\u00a0viticulture is in decline,\u201d said viticultural consultant Richard Selley.