English wine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK according to supermarket Waitrose, who revealed a 177 percent rise in sales this week compared to a year ago.
This surge in popularity is particularly pertinent as English Wine Week, a week dedicated to celebrating our locally produced wine, approaches. From Saturday 23rd to Sunday 31st of May, English vineyards, retailers, hotels and restaurants will be championing these increasingly prevalent wines. It is a great excuse for those of you who are not familiar with this excellent quality wine to taste away and find out what all the fuss is all about!
Rebecca Hull, the UK wine buyer for Waitrose, told the Telegraph, “The success of English wine is a culmination of dedication and effort from some talented winemakers across the country who have gradually built the reputation of our wines from the ground up…There is a real momentum among the English wine industry right now, as new plantings come on stream and English winemakers perfect their art, so it's an exciting time to be involved in English wine and we're truly excited about the future”.
Image from Gusbourne Estates
Wine is produced throughout the UK, but a large proportion of the wines are grown in the South, whose chalky soils and warmer climate have been compared to the Champagne region in France. Once disregarded many years ago as inferior in quality, wine from the UK is now continually winning awards for quality, regularly beating their equivalent from France in blind tastings.
“English sparkling wine is now giving champagne…a good run for its money”
At the 2014 International Wine Challenge, English producers won a plethora of awards: five gold medals and two trophies, quite the accolade. The Nyetimber Classic Cuvée 2009
, based in Sussex, won a gold award, as did the Gusbourne Estate 2009 Brut Reserve, from Kent (the 2010 vintage is available here
The change in weather patterns has been attributed to this increase in grape cultivation and wine production, and there can be no doubt that this industry is booming in the UK: local expertise and knowledge will continue to go from strength to strength, and the already exceptional quality will only improve.
“Good soil, good grapes & good producers – no wonder the French are a little worried about the progress of English wines”
As the weather improves and the days gets sunnier and hotter, there is now no need to cross The Channel to visit top quality vineyards: why not take some time out and visit one of our very own? We’ve selected the best ones in the UK to visit here
. An escape for the weekend to stroll around some vineyards, drink some local wine and soak up the sun? Sounds like a great idea to me. Most tours are available to pre-book, and many offer accommodation too.
Main blog image from Nyetimber Vineyard