English Sparkling Wine was pretty much an unknown quantity to the average person in the UK this time last year. You’d say Sparkling Wine to someone and they’d probably look at you blankly, then you’d explain that it’s ‘sort of’ Champagne and then they’d know what you’re talking about! The appearance and acknowledgement of English Sparkling Wine has risen rapidly over last 6 to 12 months. A positive appearance on BBC1’s ‘The Apprentice’ as one of the tasks prompted increased sales nationwide and really grabbed people’s attention.
Vineyards are popping (no pun intended, honest!) up all across the south of England, household names for English Sparkling Wine now include Chapel Down of Kent, Nyetimber of West Sussex, Camel Valley of Cornwall and the soon to be opened Rathfinny Estate of East Sussex, we blogged about this back in April!
Not only have specialist wine merchants on the high streets and online wine specialists such as Majestic, Naked Wines, Virgin and Hennings been promoting and singing its praises, it’s also the big chained supermarkets too. You’re now able to purchase English sparkling and still wine in Tesco, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer’s and all the others.
Sales boomed thanks to the Queens Diamond Jubilee Weekend earlier this month. The patriotic spirit for English Wine encouraged sales massively; Marks & Spencer reportedly sold over 50,000 bottles of Chapel Down and Ridgeview over the bank holiday weekend, 50 times more than a normal week! If those kinds of figures aren’t eye opening enough, than Waitrose sales of English Still Wine were up 350 per cent.
This really does show that the popularity of English Wine, both still and sparkling is definitely increasing, it’s become not only more well-known and respected in the UK, but also across Europe and even worldwide. There is still a long way to go to overtake the French however as the UK as a whole sold 34.5 million bottles of Champagne last year (2011), with the region of Champagne producing over 323 million bottles!
Let the competition commence…
Figures were gathered from Victoria Moore’s article from the Telegraph.