English Wine - How Does it Compare?

We asked some of England's winemakers for their own thoughts
on how English wine stacks up against the foreign competition.

SUE MOSEY, Hidden Spring Vineyard

"English wine has come a very long way over the past two decades. When wine was first produced in England it tended to be Germanic in style because that was the fashion of the day. With the advent of wines coming into the UK from all over the world the demand for more varied and complex wines was sought and we have been able to rise to the challenge and produce styles of excellent wines which are comparable to and in some cases better than many overseas ones.

I am delighted to say that in my opinion even though we are able to compete on a world wide stage we still manage to keep something quintessentially English about our wines. The answer I am sure lies in the soil.

The forte for English wine production lies in the range of subtle dry, rose and sparkling wines although there are some very good red wines now starting to appear more frequently."

~

WILL DAVENPORT, Davenport Vineyards

"English wine styles cover the whole range from dry white to sparkling, red, rosé and dessert wine - the wines can complement almost any food or occasion. However, it is with dry white and sparkling wines that English vineyards show their greatest potential.

Our cooler climate and long growing season can produce the most exquisitely perfumed white wines, with a lightness that makes easy-drinking wines with a complex array of flavours.

English sparkling wines - an area where some growers have become skilled masters of secondary fermentation in the bottle - have been regarded as world class competitors for the last decade."

~

SIMON ALPER, Chilford Hall Vineyard

"How good is English wine and what is it like? We have found that most people make comparisons with what they know, so our wines are like those from the Rhine, the Loire, Alsace or New Zealand. We have recently had samples of one of our drier wines tasted by staff at a leading London restaurant, the french staff thought it was a New World wine and the Antipodeans thought it was from the Loire Valley. With this sort of result we should be very happy at the quality of wine we are producing.... The wine has been 'listed'.

English wines are expensive compared to 'cheap' wines, but fit into the middle market which fills the 4.50 to 10 slot. In this area they represent good value generally. Specialist sparkling wines retail at under 20 and also represent good value. In both categories the offerings at an equivalent quality are generally between 1 and 3 cheaper than they would be if they came from somewhere like New Zealand."

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