It wasn’t long ago that winemaking wasn’t widely associated with the UK – despite its long heritage. While the UK has produced wine as far back as during Roman times, it only experienced a modern revival in the 1950s. And in the last decade, it has been undergoing something of a boom.
In 2018, UK winemakers made a staggering 15.6 million bottles of wine – a record number. Production dropped to 10.5 million bottles the following year, primarily due to frost and smaller bunches, and then down to 8.7 million bottles in 2020. However, according to Wine GB, sales of English and Welsh wine increased by 31% in 2021 and with a warm summer in 2022, hopes are high for a strong vintage season. UK wine is now exported to more than 40 countries worldwide with Scandinavia and the USA being amongst the top markets.
There are now more than 700 individual vineyards in the British Isles of varying sizes. The smallest grows just six vines but the largest is almost 90 hectares in size – or 222 acres. There is a high concentration of commercial vineyards in the southeast of England, covering Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight – largely due to the milder weather. However, there are vineyards across the country, stretching from the east to the very southwest in Cornwall and into Wales as well as through the Midlands, north of England and into Scotland.
It’s safe to say that winemaking in the UK is on the up. And with increasing production and demand for UK wine, it’s even more important that British grapes get safely from the vine to our wine glasses.
The perfect picking season
The good news is that the heatwave of 2022 which saw record-breaking sunshine and temperatures across the summer led to a bumper harvest. Of course, this contrasts greatly to the cooler, wetter and less sunny summer of 2021 which brought its own challenges to the industry, including a later harvest.
The harvesting of grapes is a crucial step in winemaking. The grape must be just ripe enough and handled so as not to burst or bruise the bunch. The way grapes are handled and stored, as well as the weather conditions during any season, could mean the difference between a vintage year and a wine cellar full of plonk.
And when it comes to grape harvesting and storage, here’s where phs Teacrate can step in to help. An expert crate provider to the food industry, phs Teacrate has a range of crate and pallet solutions for every fruit harvesting need whether you’re looking for fruit containers and trays, large picking bins or a crate washing service.
Our reusable, polypropylene food crates and pallet boxes provide an economic and environmentally-friendly alternative to wooden or cardboard storages boxes, in addition to being splinter and fibre free. By renting or buying reusable crates, you’re also saved from the dreaded task of disposing of single-use boxes as well as the associated costs.
With vineyards and wineries encouraged to move away from single-use cardboard to support the wine industry’s Sustainable Wines of Great Britain initiative, phs Teacrate’s Returnable Transit Packaging (RTP) is the perfect choice.
The crates are purpose-designed for convenient, easy use while ensuring they protect the delicate grapes when being picked, stored and transported. Lightweight and easy to handle, they stack neatly and, particularly important for the UK, are weatherproof.
Fruits of your labour, handled with care
phs Teacrate’s lightweight food crates and pallet boxes are durable and easy to carry, being of manageable size and with handles ideally placed for comfortable manoeuvring to and from the field.
They can be placed on the floor, between vine rows, without fear of getting a soggy bottom and safely stacked for transit or storage. Vented sides help prevent condensation and/or mould and allow water from rain or washing to drain away.
Our food trays and pallet boxes (picking bins) can be bought or hired:
- Standard food tray FC4 - 35 litres, 600 x 400 x 197 mm and compatible with supermarket bale arm trays.
- Deep food tray FC4D – 46 litres, 600 x 400 x 252 mm and designed to function smoothly on roller conveyors.
- Pallet Box/Dolav PB2 – 600 litres, 1200 x 1000 x 760 mm (picking bins) with cross beams to assist mechanical tipping. As a rigid, robust container, it is designed for carrying large loads of produce.
Should you choose to rent or purchase any of our food trays, they are available with a range of customisable features, including an insert area for text or moulded logos and hot stamp branding areas. They are textured on all four sides for additional grip and are compatible for use with folding boxes, other food trays and supermarket bale arm trays. You’ll be glad to hear that they also run smoothly on roller conveyors.
The polypropylene construction makes the trays strong and perfect for use in chilled environments. They are also easy clean at your vineyard site or, for added convenience, take advantage of one of phs Teacrate’s cutting-edge washing facilities. This service is available to you whether or not you purchase or hire food trays from us.
phs Teacrate’s crate-washing facilities handle nine million crates and trays every year and deep clean all types of RTP equipment, including bale-arm crates, plastic trays, tote boxes, pallet boxes and plastic pallets. They are washed to the highest standards with rigorous quality assurance checks and strict hygiene protocols. And what’s more, we collect crates directly from your door offering either regular service washes or ad hoc requests.
Food trays ready when you are
With fruit ripening being weather dependent, we understand that a grape harvest can be a moveable feast, so we just want you to know that phs Teacrate is here when you need us.
We offer short-term rental on all trays and crates which will arrive washed and ready for action within two to three days of your order (next day delivery available), or long-term rental or sales if you need our crates and pallet boxes for longer.
When not in use, both sizes of food tray can be neatly nested for storage or collected by one of phs Teacrate’s friendly operatives from a location of your choosing, be that at vineyard or winery. There is no minimum order for supply or washing and our flexible, ad-hoc rental service is available from our national network of depots located throughout the UK.
So, whether you need food trays or pallet boxes now or in the future, get in touch with us to discover how much easier your grape harvest can be with phs Teacrate.