British vineyards are heading for a bumper year  - and it could finally seal their international reputation for quality.

Anthea McIntyre MEP, an official ambassador for English regional wines, said: "I am confident that the 2018 vintage looks like being so productive and so good that it finally puts our wines right where they belong on the global map."

The combination of a near-perfect weather sequence and increasing land under vines means Britain’s wine growers are anticipating both large volumes and great quality in one of the earliest harvests in living memory.

The growing season has been hailed as offering "dream conditions" - in contrast with  last year when many vineyards were devastated by late April frosts, meaning yields were down.

Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands and Conservative Agriculture spokesman in  the European Parliament, said: "The quality and reputation of English and Welsh wines has been growing gradually for years.

"Many regions offer a genuinely outstanding climate and terroir for the right vines and international wine experts are increasingly recognising the excellence we deliver."

Miss McIntyre is herself a partner in a small family vineyard in Herefordshire and has been named an official wine champion by the English and Welsh wine industry.

She said: "This year we expect the perfect combination of a tip-top product with potentially thousands more bottles produced - and that means more retailers, more restaurant, more wine-lovers all over the world potentially trying our best wines.

"I think we may well end up looking back on 2018 as our global breakthrough vintage."