Let’s start with a quick test. How many have you have actually drunk English wine before? I’m guessing not that many of you…
Funny really, if we were French and I asked you all have you tried French wine before then it’d be near as damn it 100%. Italians and Italian wine? Same deal. You get the point. In the UK we’re full of wines from all the way around the world. Local producers have to produce incredible stuff to be able to have a sniff of putting their wares on the shelves. If you’re going to make it you’ve got to get good and get good fast.
One of the issues with when the wine hits the shelves is the undoubtedly the price. Let’s look at the sparkling wine. Champagne is a marketing masterpiece, people are ok paying up to cover the huge cost of production cos, well, it’s Champagne innit? Prosecco and Cava are the undoubted numbers two and three of sparkling wines in the UK. Where does that leave the English whose wines cost the same as Champagne and over twice the price of the others? Gets hard to convince a shopper to part with their cash.
The other issue is, and I’m sorry to harp on about it, but the weather can be proper shite here. As I’m writing this I’m looking out the window at the umpteenth grey and wet day in a row. We’re coming into June and God help us I’m not even close to my t-shirt suntan yet. Nyetimber had to scrap their 2012 vintage. The weather was just too crap for the grapes to ripen properly. How do you make money when your entire year’s product is off to feed the pigs?
All’s not lost though. English wine is coming through because when it’s done right, it’s damn good. Not only that, but you find wines that go with English food. I tried a white blend from Cornwall the other day, really sharp citrus acidity in it, and you can just imagine sitting on the sea walls having a crab salad and a glass of that. Top stuff.
It’s great that these producers are braving the downside to produce some great wines in this country. If nothing else it means you can go touring vineyards without having to dust off the passport!
Other posts in NWTW Week 21