english sparkling wine

The Rise and Rise of English Sparkling Wine

We’ve known it for a while – but it seems the secret’s out. English Sparkling Wine is a hit.

Sales were up over Christmas 2015 and experts are predicting that 2016 will see even greater growth.

To keep up with demand, production has also had to increase. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have cited a 103.2% increase in the production volume of English and Welsh sparkling wines between 2010 and 2014.

So keen is the interest in English wine that the renowned Champagne brand Taittinger has announced plans to produce it’s own English wine after buying land in Kent.

Awareness of English wine is also on the rise thanks to a series of high profile sponsorship deals. From the Nyetimber sponsorship of Cowes Week to Wimbledon offering an English Sparkling wine, there will be no shortage of English wines this summer. Virgin have even switched from offering Champagne to Meonhill Sparkling Wine from the Hambledon Vineyard on their 787 Dreamliners.

So whether you’re messing about on the river, watching a spot of tennis or flying first class, you’ll not be far from a glass of English sparkling wine.

If you are interested in finding out more, be sure to check out English Wine Week organised by the English Wine Producers. The week runs from 28th May to 5th June 2016 and features events across the country to highlight to brilliance of English wines. For more information see, http://www.englishwineproducers.co.uk/

Alternatively, if you fancy sampling English Wine but can’t wait for English Wine Week, you can have us deliver a bottle of our excellent Coates & Seely English sparkling wine direct to your door.

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Another Glass Of Sussex Please!

Sussex is famous for many things. The Royal Pavilion at Brighton, the Long Man of Wilmington, and Bodiam Castle (pictured). Its is also (weirdly) where banoffee pie was first created in 1972. If these things are not enough to show Sussex as exemplary, then why not Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status for it’s wines?

A few days ago Decanter Magazine reported that English wine producers are making a bid to obtain PDO status for wineries in Sussex. PDO would bring them the same protected status as wines from Champagne.

PDO is the most prestigious of the three geographical indications offered by the European Union for the protection and promotion of agricultural products. The other two are Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), and Traditional Specialities Guaranteed (TSG).

PDO is the strictest designation. It states that a product has been entirely produced within a region that gives the product unique properties. For example, beef produced wholly on Orkney has PDO status and can be labelled as Orkney beef. Beef produced in Scotland, including from Orkney, has PGI status and is labelled Scotch beef. So If the beef comes from cows raised in Orkney, but is prepared in the Outer Hebrides, it can only have Scotch beef PGI status as it wasn’t wholly produced on Orkney.

The UK already has 65 products with protected status. Far less than Portugal (125), France (217) and Italy (267). If successful, Sussex wine would join PDO holders such as Native Shetland Wool, Jersey Royal Potatoes and our favourite cheese, Swaledale. Given that English wine has already been granted a PDO, what advantage does a Sussex PDO designation bring?

Well, English wine may be enjoying its most successful years, but presumably it’s easier to market Sussex sparkling wine rather than English sparkling wine. For example, ordering a bottle of Sussex in a restaurant sounds more pleasing than ordering a bottle of English…

And why not have a go! English sparkling wines have been racking up the awards. In the 2014 International Wine Challenge competition they were awarded 5 gold medals and two trophies. Obtaining PDO status would be another big boost to the reputation of wines produced in Sussex, and England in general.

It is perhaps debatable how the varying landscape of Sussex can be realistically expected to imbue the geographical characteristics a PDO is meant to guarantee. But with the English wine retail sector forecast to hit £100m this year, and the number of wineries in the UK at an all time high, this latest PDO is clear evidence of a confident market.

Interestingly Nyetimber, one of the most famous UK producers, has two thirds of its vineyards in Sussex and a third in Hampshire, and so would be excluded from applying the PDO designation to its’ products.

Image is “Bodiam-castle-10My8-1197” by WyrdLight.com. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.