The English wine renaissance: why English wine is so important now more than ever
In the twelve-month period up to summer 2020, English and Welsh wine industry was worth £307.8m, a 4.5% increase from the previous period. In 2019 alone, 3 million new vines were planted in the UK and an impressive number of producers have jumped on the bandwagon*. The industry is clearly booming; English wine is one of the hottest topics in the wine scene and consumers have started to realise it. So, why is it so important to get your English wine shelves up to scratch?
The rise and rise of ‘buying local’
Take a global pandemic, couple it with scary Brexit, and you will see an increasing trend for British consumers to buy local. A study by Proof Insights revealed that 53% of consumers are more likely to buy locally compared to before the Covid-19 lockdown**. English wine will prove attractive to more and more consumers, shining on your shelves like the main star of the show. Also, it is produced and bottled in England, ticking all the sustainable boxes that are increasingly important to customers. Win-win.
Quality is the key
The English wine revolution of the past decade started from the producers themselves: by focusing on their vineyards and winemaking techniques, and creating state-of-the-art wineries, the quality of English wine has drastically improved. Not only are the chalky soils of Southern England similar to Champagne, but also the climate has become more and more alike because of global warming*. As a result, the vines grow in perfect conditions to create excellent fruit that is transformed in excellent wine. Gone are the days in which English wine was ‘too sweet’ with a questionable taste. Now, more and more producers have won industry awards, gaining recognition and elevating English wine’s reputation.
Flint Vineyard Winery, Norfolk
There is much more than just sparkling wine
English sparkling wine has always been the rockstar: a shortcut to fizz heaven without having to pay for the prestige of more established Champagne Houses. Now it’s time to recognise the quality of another rising star: English still wine. The 2018 heatwave has been a call-to-action for many producers, making it possible to grow fruit with higher sugar concentration and lower acidity, boosting the quality of still wine. Indeed, an increasing number of producers are now focusing on this category, Bacchus a leading actor of the show. Producers like Albourne Estate, Litmus, Bolney Wine Estate and, recently added to our portfolio, Flint Vineyard all craft their own take on this grape. But there’s more: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay are also in the equation. One of the latest producers to join our portfolio, Balfour Wines, is a leading champion of these grapes.
* Oz Clarke, English Wine. From Still to Sparkling – The Newest New World Wine Country.
** Proof Insights consumer trend report 2020.
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Here are some of our English Sparkling and still wines:
1. Coates & Seely Britagne Brut Reserve
The Britagne Brut is a wonderful example of English sparkling wine. A blend of wines made in two consecutive vintages, the wine is bottle aged for three years prior to release. The aromas are reminiscent of apple orchards and elderflowers. Seemingly very dry, the dosage is 10 g/l of sugar; the palate shows lemon, mineral notes and a soft mousse.
2. Ridgeview Cavendish Brut NV
A rich golden colour with exceptionally fine bubbles, the Cavendish is a wonderful sparkling wine that works perfectly with food. The nose is expressive with hints of red fruits. On the palate, the Pinot dominance brings depth and complexity, with a long-lasting finish, while the Chardonnay adds finesse and freshness.
3. Flint Vineyard Bacchus 2018
The wine displays many of the wonderful sides of Bacchus: fresh lime peel and a lavender like perfume underpinned by elderflower and a peppery spice. It is crisp yet refined on the palate making it a refreshing, palate cleansing wine that is a perfect accompaniment to seafood. Loved by many critics including Oz Clarke, it is the perfect wine for those looking for something similar to, but perhaps more interesting than a new-world Sauvignon Blanc.
4. Balfour Suitcase Pinot Noir 2018
Made using the ‘suitcase’ Pinot Noir clones Dijon 828 and 777, planted on warmest Foxridge vineyard at Hush Heath Estate. Suitcase Pinot Noir 2018 showcases a new style of English Pinot Noir. Burgundian in style with a Ruby garnet colour, with flavours or plum, truffle and thyme with a long subterranean earthy finish – pure classic Pinot Noir.