Earlier this year British wine growers toasted a rather iconic achievement. At a tasting in the prestigious Juveniles restaurant in Paris an elite group of experts rated English sparkling wine as being better than Champagne, with many pointing to the ‘sham’ nature of the contest. For the first time ever, they couldn’t spot the difference!
English wine has been on an upwards trajectory for over a decade now, each year being pulled closer to our neighbours across the Channel who are now cautiously looking over their shoulders at the progress being made. Climate change has been a boon for growers who plant on chalky soils akin to those in Champagne, making wines of comparable quality without the price tag.
And the sales are starting to match. New statistics show sales have soared in the last five years, with 37 new wine producers and vineyards opened to meet demand. It comes as more Brits opt for alternatives to Champagne such as Cava and Prosecco which are cheaper and in many cases more suited to the English palate.
James Simmonds, from accountancy group UHY Hacker Young, which looked at HM Revenue & Customs figures, said the demand will come as a “great boost” for English producers.
He added: “The growing success is encouraging more growers to the market.
“It’s uncertain what will happen after Brexit to UK imports of Prosecco and Champagne. But English sparkling wine is already a viable alternative.”