When you think of Fine Wine regions, where do you think of? Most consumers think of France, Italy or New World regions as the places the best wine comes from. However, increasing numbers of top quality, award-winning wine is coming from England. Known more for its ales and cider than English Sparkling Wine, the industry has seen a boom in recent years. There are several reasons for this.
Firstly, the climate. Global warming has been kind to some part of the UK. The increase in sunshine, particularly in the south of England, has given vine growers a boost. It is the sunshine that helps ripen the grapes and thus flavour the wine so any addition to the hours the sun is pounding down is welcomed by English Wine growers.
Vine growing is about microclimates. One patch of land can be perfect for it, while a neighbouring patch will not. The increased sunshine increases the odds but there is also the rain to consider. As well as the increase in sunshine, England’s plentiful rain has helped water the vines. Again, too much rain and the crops are rained out, not enough and it will not grow. England’s vineyards range from Kent to Yorkshire – it all depends on the microclimate around the growing area.
The second factor that has led to the boom in English Sparkling Wine is the changes in technology. Technology has made it easier for growers to know when soil needs nutrients, when vines need water and how to get the best yield from their crop. By tweaking the process here and there, the wine growers have made an overall increase in yield that has meant that their businesses have become more sustainable.
The third factor is that there has been an increase in interest in English Wines as investors find new sustainable places to put their money. Instead of being seen as a cottage industry or the bastion of eccentrics, being part of the English Sparkling Wine industry is seen as a viable business proposition. While it might not be as scalable as some of the vineyards in the New World, or the traditional wine regions of France and Italy, it certainly can be a business that brings both profit and kudos to the Wine grower.
English Sparkling Wine does not yet have the international reputation it deserves. That has not to say it will not come. With more and more agricultural entrepreneurs opting for this way of life, the sheer numbers will force the market open and gradually introduce domestic consumers to the product. Until that time however, enjoy your English Sparkling Wine at the affordable prices while you can.