The English wine revival may be under threat - just as it gets going.

Despite the small number of hectares under vine in the UK, wineries are subject to the same regulations as the rest of Europe, including legislation intended to control the European wine lake.

There are plans to extend the legislation, which bans countries that produce more than three million bottles per year from planting

more vines.

"The EU works out the figures over a five-year average and under this method, despite last year's rise, we are still under the threshold," said Julia Trustram Eve of English Wine Producers (EWP). "However, production in the UK is increasing and if the ban is extended from 2010 to 2013 we could be in the danger zone."

The UK produces on average 2.1 million bottles a year but last year that rose to 3.3 million. UK plantings have increased dramatically in recent years - up by nearly a third since 2003.

Last year the area under vine rose from 793 to 923 hectares. Warmer weather means UK wineries are producing more wine. A bumper harvest is predicted this year, following a warm April and a wet May.

Higher sales have been generated by greater awareness of the quality of English wines, with sparkling wines such as Nyetimber from Sussex performing well against champagne in blind tastings and a record number of medal wins for English wine in William Reed Publishing's IWC competition. Retailers have responded with broader offers.

"We will be increasing our range of English wines this summer with two new wines in national distribution. We are also trying to build our range of local English wines," said David Peek, buying manager for England, Tesco.

Waitrose has reported a 40% increase in English wine sales year-on-year and is doubling its range.

"Five years ago few connoisseurs would have taken English wine seriously but now it's emerging as a real contender," said buyer Justin Howard-Sneyd MW.