The Advanced Guide To British Wine

If you think that wine is something only made in France, Italy, Australia or Chile, then think again. Today, Britain is a great place to grow wine and is home to some of the best estates in the world. This should come as no surprise. Britain has been a world leader in other alcoholic beverages, like Scottish and Irish malt whiskeys, for centuries, as well as its refreshing apple ciders and liqueurs.

Thanks to competition from the continent, English wines have never gained serious currency. But that’s no reason why they should remain neglected and ignored. Just like every famous wine-producing country in the world, Britain has its expert producers, churning out high-quality wine to the open market.


What You Need To Know About English Wines

British wines are, generally speaking, whites and sparklers. The grapes used to produce these wines are best suited to the cool climate here. Thanks to the unique growing conditions, British wines tend to have a floral scent, with overtones of peppery young nettle and grapefruit. As such, the wines are surprisingly refreshing – perfect for those long, warm evenings at the start of summer.

Britain grows the majority of its wines in the Southern countries. The dry, warm climate in countries such as Dorset, Somerset, Kent and Sussex is similar to northern France, and so it’s no surprise that many local producers make sparkling wines similar to Champagne. Though you may question the quality of British wine growers, their output has improved dramatically over the last decade, proving the critics wrong and producing wines that stand on their own merits.

There are, of course, some caveats. The first is that English reds still tend to be sub-par. The climate simply isn’t warm enough for long enough to grow the best grapes. Red varieties just don’t grow well here, and the wine suffers as a result.

The other problem is the price. Because English winemakers are still relatively small, they aren’t yet able to take advantage of economies of scale to force prices down for consumers. You may find, therefore, that you have to spend a lot of money to get the best wines.


The Best Wine Estates

Camel Valley

Camel Valley vineyard, Cornwall’s largest vineyard, has been making wines since 1989. In that time, they’ve won several awards for their wines, including the “Indy Best,” the Waitrose Drinks Producer of the Year Award, and the 2005 International Wine Challenge Gold Medal for their sparkling variety. Thanks to the subtropical climate of Cornwall, Camel Valley has grown to become the largest vineyard in the country, producing wines for some of the biggest retailers in the country, including Waitrose and Fortnum and Hakkasan in London. They also export abroad to Japan.

The owner of the vineyard, Bob Lindo, attributes the success of his product to careful attention to detail. He and his wife can often be found out in the vineyard at all times of the day, inspecting the plants and making sure they are doing everything possible to produce the very best grapes.



Chapel Down

Chapel Down vineyard in Kent, home to a range of aromatic wines specialises in the production of sparkling wine. They produce wines according to the same traditional method used to make Champagne substituting French grapes for those grown in the south of England. They supply wines all over Britain, including Number 10 Downing Street, home of the Prime Minister.

Chapel Down also makes still wines, including whites and roses. Their five different still wines range from the crisp and vegetal to the tropical and rich. Since opening, they have won numerous awards, including the gold award for the Sommelier wine awards, 2015, Decanter World Wine Awards, 2015, International Wine Challenge, 2015, International Wine and Spirits Competition, 2016, and “Best UK White Wine over £15” at the Decanter World Wine Awards in 2016.



Oxney Vineyard

Oxney Organic estate first made a name for itself, thanks to its world-leading organic farming mission. Despite all the demands of working on the farm, the winery and vineyard continue to win competitions for their range of rose wines. Recently, in 2016, the vineyard won the top trophy at the English and Welsh Wine of the Year Competition.

What’s so impressive about the Oxney vineyard is that everything is organic. The owners of the estate, Kristin Syltevik, and Paul Dobson had to work incredibly hard to ensure that they complied with all rules placed on organic producers while ensuring that the grapes themselves remained free from insects and disease.

Oxney Organic English Pinot Noir Rose, made in this East Sussex Oxney vineyard, has a clean finish and has been awarded numerous accolades since it was first introduced back in 2012.

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