The United Kingdom is fast becoming a recognized competitor in the production of excellent wines. With over 579 vineyards listed on the English Wine Producers website, sales of English wines reached £100 million in 2015.
It isn’t the first country you think of for quality wine but the climate of southern England, in particular, Sussex and Kent plus the chalky soil matches that of other countries known for wine production. Also, the growing popularity during taste tests, up against the leaders in the wine industry, are bringing UK vintners into the spotlight.
According to the English Wine Producers fact sheet, English sparkling wines have won nine Trophies for Best International Sparkling Wine and six Trophies for Best Sparkling Rose in Global Competitions in the past 16 years (2014 results). No other country has achieved this. Over two-thirds of the wine produced in England and Wales is sparkling. Pinot noir, Chardonnay, and Bacchus are the three most popular grapes grown in the UK. Here are only a few of the hundreds of UK vintners:
Nyetimber- In business for over 20 years and one of the largest of the UK vintners with over 170 hectares, there is evidence that recordings date back to the Domesday Book in 1086. A century later, vines were planted and in 2006, guided by winemaker, Cherie Spriggs, Nyetimber entered the international market. Their famous wines include Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay), Classic Cuvee (a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier), Rosé (a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) and Demi-Sec (100% Chardonnay)
Ridgeview – Sussex-based and family-owned, this UK vintner uses traditional methods to produce the highest quality sparkling wine. CEO Tamara Roberts has been named Sussex Business Woman of the Year. In May of 2016, Ridgeview was named as the official suppliers for Downing Street receptions.
Denbies – John Worontschak, head winemaker says that 2016 has been an ‘almost impossibly perfect harvest’ and breaks all records. This UK vintner makes the multi award-winning dessert wine, Noble Harvest, and will release a limited edition for its 30th anniversary in 2017.
With hundreds more UK vintners to choose from, it is certain that UK wines are gaining a foothold in the industry. This March will see the first independent wine competition to judge the best still and sparkling wines produced in the country.
Click here to learn more about UK Vintners.