English sparkling wine is seeing a complete emergence. With more vineyards being planted in the UK, and English fizz set for its biggest year ever – it’s truly never been easier to feel at home with a glass in hand.
Despite the scepticism around British wine over recent years, the industry has (quite literally) been bubbling away for years, with consumers starting to position English wine as a solid contender in the industry.
Figures from a leading British wine retailer highlight that sales of English fizz grew by 19% over the festive period to December 26… but, what does this mean for the Champagne region of France?
In response, and amidst the headlines that France is fearing a shortage in bottles of Champagne, big French companies such as Taittinger and Pommery to name a few, amongst German giant Hsnkell-Freixenet, are hoping to bottle the recent successes of British vineyards by buying up estates in southern England as the region is warmed by global warming.
The climate in the south of England is now the same as the Champagne region of France, where the southern region is toasting to hotter British summers, as European winemakers begin to cross the Channel to make sparkling wine.
Britain’s chalky soils are seen as similar to those in Champagne. And the moves come as more drinkers raise a glass to UK firms – with Nyetimber and Rathfinny growing grapes in Sussex, Chapel Down and Simpsons in Kent and Furleigh in Dorset.
By 2040 it is predicted that 40 million bottles will have been sold, predicted Wine GB – and although a privilege for Brits, some British winemakers have been well ahead of the hype.
José Quintana is the winemaker for Vagabond wines, a UK based bar and kitchen that produce their own brand of wine in their urban winery in Battersea. All the grapes are harvested from vineyards no more than two hours outside of London. The winery also has award-winning credentials, claiming the UK’s only platinum medal at the prestigious Decanter world wine awards in 2020.
José is focused on growing and making wine in an environmentally and sustainable way. He and his team harvest all the grapes by hand and each year produce a delicious selection of sparkling wines, alongside red, white and rosé bottles for consumers to indulge in.
The warmer weather has played an instrumental part in the quality and volume of grapes being produced in the vineyards, and through experience and lots of trial and error, Jose has found that growing clean, high-quality fruit and intervening as little as possible in the winery leads to the purest, most elegant wines that speak loudly of the place in which they were grown.
So, is English wine here to stay? Will we see more countries follow on and utilise British vineyards?
The future is unclear, but one thing’s for certain – you just can’t beat a British tipple.