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English sparkling on cusp of popularity

Published:  15 December, 2011

English sparkling wine is set to become a mainstream drink of choice, according to new report that shows over half of sparkling wine drinkers in the UK have tried sparkling wine from English vineyards at least once.

Wine Intelligence's new research points to a better supply of English sparkling wine and a growing reputation for quality. The category has been increasing sales dramatically over the past five years as investment has poured into vineyards in the south of England, it says.

During the same period sparkling wine sales in general have climbed rapidly in the UK, from around 6 million nine-litre cases in 2006 to 10 million cases in 2010.

According to the Wine Intelligence UK Sparkling Report, around 15 million out of the 25 million people in the UK who drink sparkling wine at least once a year say they have tried English sparkling wine at least once, with Christmas and the associated party season the most popular occasion.

English sparkling is proving particularly popular among "committed" sparkling wine drinkers - those who say they drink sparkling wine at least once a month. New World sparkling wine is the fizz this group are most likely to drink frequently, followed closely by Cava, and then by English sparkling.

Richard Halstead at Wine Intelligence said: "The UK sparkling wine market has been one of the few bright spots in a relatively gloomy year for the wine trade. Within this market, the English sparkling wine growth has been phenomenal, and the product appears to be familiar to a much wider group than we had previously thought."