Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

English wine producers celebrate improved quality at English Wine Producers tasting

Published:  12 May, 2015

English wine producers were celebrating the growing quality of English wines, at the English Wine Producers annual tasting in London yesterday, on the back of a record breaking 2014 harvest.

English wine producers were celebrating the growing quality of English wines, at the English Wine Producers annual tasting in London yesterday, on the back of a record breaking 2014 harvest.

"I think there is a really exciting future in English wine. I think focusing on quality is absolutely fundamental," said Ian Kellet, founder and managing director of Hambledon Vineyards, which launched its Hambledon Première Cuvée yesterday.

The figures released at the tasting, and compiled by the Wine Standards Branch, showed English wine production up 42% to around 6.3m bottles. An estimated two-thirds of the production of this production was in sparkling wine, EWP said. The area of vineyards in the UK has doubled in the last seven years to over 2000 ha, which is helping to boost production levels. 

Simon Bladon, the owner of Jenkyn Place said the tasting was a true reflection of how far the industry has come in a short amount of time.

"I think English wine was a secret and now it is out and everyone knows about it," he told "Five years ago this tasting was not so sophisticated. The wines have become more sophisticated and the level of the industry is much more sophisticated. You can tell be the calibre of people that come to the tasting now as well. The set-up is better. The better the reputation, the more you are going to get the right people to come."

Katherine O'Callaghan of Callaghan Communications believes the success of English wine really comes down to the hard working producers how have been committed to producing great wines and sharing them. 

"It is just so exciting to see the changes over the years and how English wine is being embraced. It must be so rewarding for some of the people that have been key and working behind the scenes for so long to bring English wine to the world," she said. "The English Wine Producers tasting is really amazing. People are running out of wine. Who would have thought?"

Waitrose has had tremendous success with English wine, with sales doubling in 2014. Rebecca Hull MW the English wine buyer at Waitrose believes that the 'local' factor is quite appealing to consumers and has helped English wine to become more mainstream.

"I think English Wine ties in neatly with customers that are looking to support local producers. Quality in the beginning was really experimental and I think it is still emerging industry. I think it used to be seen as eccentric, but now it is recognised for its commercial benefit. You see it in a different light now," she said.

Frazer Thompson, chief executive of Chapel Down believes that the improved quality of English wine over the last decade reflects the progress of the industry overall."Ten year sago I think potentially half the wines at this tasting I personally would not have shown, and this year most of the wines are sensational. I think it shows how far we have come as an industry," he said. 

Picking of Pinot Gris under way at Bolney Estate in West Sussex.