Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
david coonce

British Wines

Recommended Posts

I was making a mental list in my head the other day of significant wine regions in the world, and realized that I had never had nor heard of any wine made/grown in the UK. Googling it didn't give me any more information, so now I'm curious. Is there any sort of significant wine industry in the UK? If not, why not, and if so, why are they not exported/available. I'm curious, since there seems to be so much great food coming out of the UK restaurant scene these days, it seems odd that there is apparently not any kind of wine culture also evolving there.


"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try searching for "English Wine"

"British Wine" was made from imported grapes tyoically for the very low cost market. Think Buckfast Tonic wine and the like http://www.buckfast.org.uk/site.php?use=tonic

Its still quite far north to grow grapes, but there is some very nice wine made here, mostly white or sparkling such as Nyetimber or Ridgeview, and there is a long tradition of fruit wines.


Edited by jackal10 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

David,

According to the English Wine Producers Assocation website in 2005 there were 362 vineyards and 102 wineries with an average vineyard are of 2.27 hectares producing 1.3 million bottles of white (including sparkling) and 300,000 bottles of red (not much).

Apart from a few big boys, such as Nyetimber, Chapel Down and Three Choirs it's mostly ma and pa operations that have very low production.

Wines are generally sold either through cellar door, or locally through shops and restaurants; there's generally not enough wine to create the cost effective critical mass to export.

Coupled with the fact that land prices are high in England and this is reflected in the final product, they often don't appear competitively priced in comparison to equivalent quality imports from other countries.

It's a shame as there are some lovely wines around. I tend to favour the sparklers and the wines made from aromatic varieties.


Itinerant winemaker

Follow me on Twitter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not to hijack, but my favorite episode of Chef (England Expects) is when they are in the cooking competition in France and have to use ingredients native to their home countries (England for Garreth).

They go the french wine shop to find a substitute english wine and are laughed at.

"Odd to relate, but the amount of wine imported into France from England is surprisingly small."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not to hijack, but my favorite episode of Chef (England Expects) is when they are in the cooking competition in France and have to use ingredients native to their home countries (England for Garreth). 

They go the french wine shop to find a substitute english wine and are laughed at.

"Odd to relate, but the amount of wine imported into France from England is surprisingly small."

When I saw this thread that was the first thing I thought of. God I loved that show. Why are all the good ones so short-lived?


"An appetite for destruction, but I scrape the plate."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nyetimber produce at least two grades : Première Cuvée and Classic Cuvée. I have only tasted the classic but found it wanting compared to any of the popular non-vintage champagnes ( Moet, Veuve etc. ). Despite the fact that Nyetimber is served by The Queen on "many state occasions" and may appeal to the curious, (myself included) you may find yourself disappointed. Of course, if anyone has tasted Nyetimber’s Première Cuvée and would care to comment ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was making a mental list in my head the other day of significant wine regions in the world, and realized that I had never had nor heard of any wine made/grown in the UK.

The UK is missing three of the 4 most critical elements to be a great terroir:

-it's not a temperate climate, it's damp and it rains way too much and Vitis Vinifera doesn't like that

-it doesn't have the proper soil, not enough lime which is THE most essential element among other for vines to prosper

-no wide variety of varietals and time (measured in centuries) to find where they do best

Why worry about it when there is so much great wine to be had across the channel?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Nyetimber blanc de blancs 2001 was tasting extremely well last I tried it, and generally any of their wines will spank the pants of off your basic NVs e.g moet or veuve (in particular is awful at the moment).

Ridgeview are harder to pin down as they make more wines, but the 05 cavendish is excellent, and some 01 bloomsbury from my cellar had matured really well.

Camel Valley I've never really appreciated, Chapel down can be good but I was v dissapointed with their Bacchus' from 07, which is a varietal I normally really like.

The new player on the block would be Hush Heath Sparkling Rose which has just picked up a IWSC gold, and is quite serious in a Billecarte Salmon style.

So yep, sparkling wines are a genuine concern, both Roederer and Duval Leroy are looking at/buying land over here, as the climate/soil and chalk sub soil are pretty much identical to that found in champagne.

Whites from Germanic varietals are less successful, and you can forget about reds, they're mostly a novelty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was making a mental list in my head the other day of significant wine regions in the world, and realized that I had never had nor heard of any wine made/grown in the UK.

The UK is missing three of the 4 most critical elements to be a great terroir:

-it's not a temperate climate, it's damp and it rains way too much and Vitis Vinifera doesn't like that

-it doesn't have the proper soil, not enough lime which is THE most essential element among other for vines to prosper

-no wide variety of varietals and time (measured in centuries) to find where they do best

Why worry about it when there is so much great wine to be had across the channel?

Obviously geography is not a strong point in Shanghai, as England does have a temperate climate (at least in the south) and more limestone than you ever need. As for the third point, well we do lack a little sunshine so varietal variety is a little hard to come by, but we're working on it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...