Looking closer to home: English Wines
Updated: Aug 20, 2018
It was back in 1066 that French monks were said to have sowed the first seeds of the English wine industry having crossed the channel and laid their roots during the Norman invasion, and almost a thousand years later, the industry is well and truly bustling.
As of 2016, there were 503 commercial vineyards in the UK, as well as 133 wineries throughout England and Wales. With these establishments collectively producing over 5 million bottles of wine in 2015 alone, its clear to see that the English countryside is undergoing its very own transformation. 2017 saw some 80 wineries launching in the UK, up a substantial 25% increase on the previous year, according to UHY Hacker Young. These numbers all mean that the wine industry is now one of the UK’s fastest growing sectors, with many of the nation’s City workers seeing this new growing trend as a solid, and interesting, investment.
With the development and production of UK wines showing absolutely no signs of slowing down, perhaps its time to sit up and pay attention to the producers behind the bottles. Here are just a few of our favourite finds from Old Blighty so far:
Hattingley Valley, Hampshire
This family run producer set in Hampshire was established in 2008, and Hattingley Valley currently manage over 24 hectares of vines across two perfectly situated sites and specialises in producing (award-winning) sparkling wines. The outstanding team at Hattingley Valley, including founder and owner Simon Robinson, and Director / Winemaker Emma Rice, are devoted to an environmentally sensitive approach to viticulture, which is reflected in their state of the art, Eco-friendly winery which was completed in 2010.
Camel Valley Wines, Cornwall
It’s been a good year for Camel Valley, with 2018 has seeing this Cornish winery become the very first UK winery to be issued a Royal Warrant – joining the likes of Pol Roger and Champagne Bollinger. With more awards than you can shake a stick at, as well as the dedicated, consistent and personable individuals working behind the scenes, we don’t imagine that Camel Valley’s trajectory to success will slow down any time soon.
Digby Fine English
Dynamic duo Trevor Clough and Jason Humphries founded Digby Wine Estates with aspirations of producing world class fizz here in England by combining collaborations with the very best vineyards in the country, with a pursuit of excellence through the art of blending. Not only does the commitment to perfection set this producer apart, but their story telling, full of British wit and charm is perfectly reflective of the luxurious, fine wines they create.
The Bolney Estate, Sussex
Only the 6th commercial vineyard to be planted in the UK, the Bolney Wine Estate in Sussex is a veritable pioneer in the English wine industry. Under the leadership of Sam Linter, daughter of founders Janet and Rodney Pratt, and Head Winemaker and Managing Director, the Estate grows a range of grape varieties, producing over fifteen award-winning wines to date, whilst their implementation of traditional production methods promotes and maintains soil health, fertility and stability within its vineyards.