As English Wine Week (23rd to 31st May, 2015) approaches it seems a good time to gather together a few relevant facts and figures about this rapidly developing and increasingly successful sector of the UK wine market.
According to the UK Vineyards Association there are now 470 vineyards in England and Wales. Most are to be found south of the M4 corridor with the majority on the chalky limestone soils of Kent and Sussex. As it happens this is the same geology as that found in Champagne so perhaps it is little surprise to discover that most of the recent vine plantings are also the same grapes – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier – and are destined for sparkling wine.
The rise of English Sparkling Wine has been effervescent to say the least. The first such wine made from ‘Champagne’ grapes was Nyetimber (W Sussex) in 1992. The next year saw it win awards and international recognition. Ridgeview (E Sussex) followed in 1995 and soon after the millennium the number of ESW producers increased dramatically, riding high on a sense of economic […]