SOUTH-EAST FARMERS could be set to share in a wine bonanza if an ambitious expansion plan by the English Wines Group bears fruit.

Managing director Frazer Thompson said the firm had received substantial private funding and was looking for up to 6000ha (15,000 acres) of land in the long-term to grow extra grapes.

Changing climatic conditions meant soil in Kent, Sussex, parts of Essex, Suffolk and even Hants could be suitable, said Mr Thompson.

The company would offer farmers a 20-year index-linked deal and would be able to provide funding during the three years needed to set up the vines and help with capital costs, said Mr Thompson.

“In a good year you could potentially be looking at making £2000/acre.”