English Wine vs. British Wine, How Is It Still Allowed?


There are some things that just don’t make sense to me. Parents letting their kids terrorise the general public on those scooter things for one. People who beep their horn for no reason at traffic lights. I’d add Brexiters to the list if I didn’t think it’d spark some weird debate in the comments section, so I won’t. But the whole “British Wine” confusion is right up there as complete nonsense as far as I’m concerned.

If a wine is on the shelves as English Wine, or Welsh Wine, or Scottish Wine (it’s coming!) then you know the grapes have been grown, pressed, fermented, finished, and bottled in the country of origin. Places like Sussex, Hampshire, Cornwall, and Pembrokeshire are all gaining international stardom at the minute with some terrific wines. They’re also going for protected status in the EU. But something out there has the potential to damage the brand…

British wine is where the grapes are grown elsewhere in the world. Plan is, you find the cheapest grape growing area you can find, grow it in bulk, and then ship the grapes to the UK to be fermented on a budget, and slapped on the shelves for £3 a bottle. Joe Public is meant to just know the difference, but come on! Really?

This is one of those times where a proper bit of red tape would actually help. Make these buggers write the full explanation on the labels and see how quickly they change their tune. “British fermented muck from grapes grown in the arse end of nowhere” doesn’t have the same ring to it does it?


15 thoughts on “English Wine vs. British Wine, How Is It Still Allowed?”

  1. okiewinegirl2015

    Everyone’s got their Equivalent of 2 buck Chuck. If you find yourself in need of some tender, start writing wine labels! Hilarious!

      1. okiewinegirl2015

        Ha! True, yet you never know! If I had the cash it might be a fun experiment!

  2. The grapes for most British wines aren’t actually crushed here – it is concentrated juice that is shipped from abroad. Then you have the likes of London Cru, who have long term relationships with quality growers and put a great deal of work and artistry into the wine-making. “British fermented muck from grapes grown in the arse end of nowhere” would be quite unfair to the latter, even though they come under the same banner of “British Wine”… broad brush statements can be damaging!

  3. Are there _english_ (or welsch) wines that are worth for blind tasting with other european ones of similar grape varieties & similar geological soils ? And secondly, can they cross the Channel ? (Not a troll question, though surely a bit naively worded — Sorry)

    1. Yeah, a few English wines have been beating Champagnes in blind tasting competitions for a couple of years now, it’s really good stuff. Nothing to stop it crossing the channel, but as with most things, it’s sometimes difficult to buy non-french wine in France, and non-Italian wine in Italy. Although Gordon Ramsey stuck English sparkling wine on the menu in his new place in Bordeaux recently…

  4. We’ve had a similar bit of silliness here with “Cellared in Canada” or “Cellared in Ontario” wines – which, hopefully, is being phased out.

    Nothing wrong with offering bulk value wines: but a little more honesty and clarity in labelling is due.

    P.S. Eric, some wonderful wines coming out of the UK now, which absolutely compete on the world stage! Sparkling most notably; in this case, climate change is good for UK wine production.

  5. Interesting article! It’s just a shame more supermarkets don’t sell more English and Welsh wine, making it more well known. My local Sainsbury’s sells Chapel Down Flint Dry, which is lovely, but at £10 a bottle, it’s more than a lot of people are willing to pay. Some more in the £5-10 range would start the British wine revolution!

    1. It’s the big problem, it’s nealry impossible to make a good english wine for that price bracket given costs of production. Maybe English wine just have to accept that they will have no choice but to battle it out in the premium market?!

      1. The cheapest English wine I’ve seen is from Lidl, Denbies’ Broadwood’s Folly White, which was around £7.99 if I remember correctly. It was nice enough, but not quite as good as the Chapel Down.

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