Top 5 Facts You Need To Know About English Wine

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With this year’s growing season fast approaching, vineyards from around the country are opening their doors and getting ready to share their wine making secrets with you by offering tours, tastings and special offers, if you’ve been thinking of stocking English wine then English wine week offers the perfect opportunity to experience what the British countryside has to offer.

English wine week takes place between Saturday 28th May and Sunday 5th June and is a campaign set up to raise awareness of English and Welsh wine across the country. Starting over the Spring bank holiday, the event lasts the entire week, giving you plenty of time to visit a vineyard.

To celebrate the week, and to encourage you to add English wines to your menu.

Did you know...

1. We Make More Sparkling Wine Than Still Wine

Ever since 2010, the amount of sparkling wine produced in England and Wales has far exceeded the production of still wine. Of the grape varieties planted in these areas, the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier Grapes (The holy trinity of grapes used in the production of sparkling wine) make up over 50% of the total number of vines planted. This makes sparkling wine one of the best options for your wine list as stock is of a plentiful supply.

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2. Our Sparkling Wine Ranks With The Best

We’re not that far from the Champagne region of France, and because of this, our soils share very similar qualities (they were once part of the same land mass). In fact, due to climate change, French vineyard owners are currently buying up land in the South-East of England as they are concerned about the effect of rising temperatures.

Over the last 5 years, we’ve been creating quite an impressive trophy collection, racking up multiple international awards from many different associations. In 2010, Ridgeview's Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs 2006 was entered into the Decanter world wine awards along with 10,000 other wines and was crowned the best sparkling wine in the world (not bad for a bottle that was retailing at £21.95).

3. There’s More Choice Than You Think

England is currently swamped with vineyards; 1956 hectares (4833 acres) are hidden under vine - that's the equivalent of more than 11,000 football fields! In 2014, we produced 6.3m bottles of wine and with around 500 wineries, you’re spoilt for choice. The UK Vineyards Association tasted wines from 92 vineyards, breaking up wines into categories of white, oaked white, sweet white, rosé, red, sparkling and sparkling rosé, producing 284 medals (each vineyard offered multiple wines). You could quite literally write a wine list that comprises of solely English wines and there would be something to complement each of your dishes.

4. There’s plenty of demand

Waitrose are a big supporter of wines grown in England, and in the lead up to English wine week, their sales of wine produced in England saw a sales growth of 177%. In a bizarre twist of fate, Gordon Ramsey’s new restaurant, Le Pressoir d’Argent, is located in Bordeaux and prominently features English wines on the menu.

5. We are home to some very large vineyards

Hectarage is the highest it’s ever been in the UK with the planted area doubling in the last 7 years. Our largest single vineyard measures in at 106 hectares, was established in 1986 and resides in the stunning countryside of Dorking. The biggest estate is the Nyetimber estate, found in the picturesque landscape of west sussex and measuring 177 hectares. The estate has been around for hundreds of years and gets its first mention in the doomsday book 1086. The owner and chief executive, Eric Heerema, was quoted saying, "I don't think in years but in generations" so you can rest assured that even with this massive amount of land to care for that nothing is rushed and everything is done to perfection.

All of the great English wines available have a great story behind them, so why not get to know your grower and producer and share their story with your customers?

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