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Festival-goers prefer English fizz to Champagne'

Published:  23 July, 2008

The organiser of the English Wine and Regional Food Festival claims that top English sparklers like RidgeView and Nyetimber are equal to if not better than the best Champagnes.

Christopher Ann, who has organised every English Wine Festival since the inaugural event in 1975, told said that in many cases' visitors preferred English sparkling wines to Champagnes. He said: We've noticed a huge increase in business this summer - and a huge interest in sparkling wines.

I've also noticed that, these days, producers are able to pay the growers the right price for the grapes, which is encouraging more people to concentrate on growing rather than producing or marketing.'

Ann went on to add that he first realised the potential for English sparkling wine 30 years ago while attending a Christie's tasting. He said that

a number of the tasters present could not tell the difference between home-grown wines and Champagnes.

This year's festival takes place on 3-4 September at the English Wine Centre, Walton's Oak Barn, Alfriston, East Sussex.

Some 15 wineries will have tasting stands at the festival, and there will also be regional food producers and a sparkling-wine bar. Tickets can be booked in advance online at (adults 10, children 6.50) or bought on the day for 12.50.