What's next for English wine?
The last 10 years in the world of English wine has been a fascinating journey to follow. Despite the fact that the first commercial vineyard in England was opened in 1955, it’s not been until the 2000s that English wine has found its stronghold and footing in the market. And indeed, English wine’s journey can be traced back as far as the Romans, credited with first introducing the vine to English soil. So why now? And what’s next?
Well, in part, there’s been an influx of savvy entrepreneurs that tracked the potential of English wine with the changing climate, coupled with the concerns over the production in the Champagne region. Their investment and presence has helped to propel the market forward.
Initially, too, there was the expected hesitation from consumers long affiliated with Champagne as a credible product recognised the world over. So how did we shift the market? Arguably, one could look to craft beer and spirits to thank. In 2009, Sipsmith became the first copper pot distillery to open in London in nearly 200 years. Cue an explosion of craft drinks in the UK, welcomed by a warm consumer reception, now interested in independent, local drinks brands. Around a similar time, Prosecco gained popularity, with consumers switching onto a more affordable sparkling drink that still provided a consistent taste experience, and opened up minds to other sparkling alternatives.
Simultaneously, we started to see English wine beginning to win awards on a global level. Early releases had sometimes been met with confusion from consumers, considering English sparkling to be a little acidic and less palatable than Champagne. But it didn’t take long for producers to refine the process to create the award-winning sparkling wine we’re all so fond of today.
So where do you go next? At Radlow Hundred, we’ve made a conscious decision to focus on still wine, made with our Rondo and Solaris grapes. We think the next chapter in English wine is now to be written with the production of fruity English reds and crisp English whites, providing customers with an entire menu of English wine to choose from as they please. With the shift towards buying more locally, and sustainability ever on the forefront of consumer’s minds, we wanted to offer English wine drinkers something a little different to discover.
English vineyards are now also expanding across the country. Once largely focussed in the key product areas of Sussex, Kent and Surrey, we’re proud to be based in Herefordshire, and in good company from other new and growing vineyards. We’re excited to be part of the journey now as the world of English wine develops and matures, and we look forward to building a new territory with our neighbouring vineyards.