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

English Wine Week round-up

Published:  24 June, 2022

As English Wine Week draws to a close, we look back on some of the key events from the jam-packed programme. 

This year’s bash came at a good time for the UK’s homegrown wine, with sales of English and Welsh wines rising by 69% since 2019 – from 5.5m bottles in 2019 to 7.1m in 2020, growing to 9.3m in 2021.

The area under vine has also more than quadrupled since 2000, hitting 3,758 ha, with some 50% of sales now being direct from cellar doors or via winery websites.

The success of English wine was none more evident than at the Wine GB Award 2022. Following a record number of entries, well over 100 producers entered, including 11 for the first time.

Of the medals awarded, 139 (48%) went to sparkling, and 151 (52%) showed that the number and quality of still wines produced in the UK continue to grow.

Co-chair of the judges Susie Barrie MW said: “We were absolutely thrilled with the quality of the whole range of wines we tasted this year. There were some fabulous wines in both still and sparkling style categories, which shows just how exciting and dynamic the UK now is as a wine region. What’s terrific is that the wins come from both the largest producers and some of the smallest, and from long-established to newcomers.”

The Innovation Category featured many different styles, demonstrating the dynamism of the sector. Three Choirs Vineyard in Gloucestershire was awarded gold for its newly launched Amber (orange) wine, with two medals being awarded to newcomers and first-time entrants Ark Wines in Suffolk for a wine made using the Ripasso method (drying grapes to concentrate the sugars) and an unfiltered and unfined Bacchus. In addition, medals were awarded to a Col Fondo wine (which translates from Italian to “with the bottom”, meaning that sediment or lees are present) from Vagabond Wines in London.

All the gold medal-winning sparkling wines were from classic varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier), with both large and small wineries being successful. Notable successes among smaller producers include Cobble Hill in Norfolk (a 3.6 ha vineyard near Burnham Market); London Cru – an urban winery in Fulham, London; and Artelium, a newcomer to the English wine scene in Sussex.

Chardonnay triumphed in the still wine category, with Chardonnay scooping four of the nine gold medals. Pinot Noir also showed well with 17 medals, two of them gold. In Wales, two gold medals were awarded for Chardonnay and one for Pinot Noir. Bacchus also took two gold medals and earned the highest proportion of medals overall, with 24% of all the medals awarded in the still wine category. The two gold medals for Bacchus went to one of the largest producers, Chapel Down in Kent, and one of the smallest, Lily Farm Vineyard in Devon.

Sussex and Kent dominated the medal tables with 61 and 60 medals, respectively. Other notable county wins were Hampshire (19 medals), Devon (15), Gloucestershire (15), Somerset (10), Cornwall (9), Surrey (9), Greater London (9), Norfolk (9), Dorset (8) and Essex (8).

Simon Thorpe MW, CEO of WineGB, said: “This has been another great year for results across all the categories of still and sparkling wines, once again demonstrating what an exciting industry this is.”

You can view the full list of winners here.

Meanwhile, Majestic, the UK’s largest specialist wine retailer, is celebrating English Wine Week 2022 with the launch of a new Definition Bacchus - the first still English wine to join the company’s label range.

Homegrown wines continue to go from strength to strength at Majestic, with sales up 56% already this year and the trend likely to continue into the summer.

Majestic’s Definition range, which was started in 2018 and now has over 30 lines, seeks to showcase “the world’s great wine styles”. The fact that an English still wine (alongside two sparkling launched in 2021) now sits on Majestic’s shelves is something that CEO, Rob Cooke, believes shows just how far the category has come.

“The original aim of Definition was to create a go-to definitive category for internationally renowned styles –such as Chablis, Sancerre or Rioja,” said Cooke.

“The fact that we now have three English Wines, including our new Bacchus, under the Definition umbrella illustrates that this country is now making wines that the world is sitting up and noticing. We’re really excited to see where the category can go from here – and at Majestic we’ll continue to champion our local producers and wineries along the way.”

English Wine Week may be over, but there are still plenty of events in the UK calendar to look forward to.

One such event is the return of Vineyards of Hampshire, Fizz Fest. The eighth year of the event will be hosted by Black Chalk Vineyard and opened by TV wine expert Helen McGinn on Sunday 24 July.

Ticket bookings are open now, for Fizz Fest entry as well as for masterclasses in the Wine Workshop Barn – such as ‘Enjoy Discovering Wine’ and ‘Tipple Talk’ – and pre-bookable vineyard and winery mini tours.

Vineyards of Hampshire comprises Black Chalk, Cottonworth, Danebury Vineyards, Exton Park, The Grange, Hambledon, Hattingley, Raimes and Louis Pommery England.