Just flicking through some of the headlines from the weekend and came across this article from Patrick Schmitt MW writing in the Drinks Business. He had a chat recently with Richard Balfour-Lynn, owner of Hush Heath winery in Kent.
Big take home from the article is that it’s not good enough for English wine to just “expand”. We need to develop the markets and the method of selling, be it cellar door, wine tourism or retail here and abroad. Going into this blind, thinking it’s just an easy lifestyle industry is a sure fire way to lose your shirt, and you’ll be lucky to survive the next 5 years.
I’d like to add that setting up vineyards and wineries right now without any consideration to sustainability initiatives is criminal and destined to be on the wrong side of consumer trends. But that’s just me.
Check out the full article on the Drink’s Business Website…
I’ve just had an email through form the English Wine Producers marketing board about a very cool thing that’s just been announced for Camel Valley. Based in Cornwall, a county in the far South West of England, they’ve just been granted protected status by the EU for a specific plot of vineyards called Darnibole, and in doing so have become the first single vineyard site in the UK to be granted the honour. Yeghes da!!
It’s a bit of a funny time to be British. On the international scene we’re being treated a bit like Uncle Knobhead, you know the one that turns up to all the family gatherings, but everyone’s always a bit tentative about how they’ll act and what they’ll say to upset everyone this time. So we have to look inside the country to come up with something to smile about, and luckily for us wine-o’s, the UK Wine scene has just the cure!
Just read a great bit of news for English in the European Supermarket Magazine. Waitrose, one of the UK’s leading (and one of the fanciest) supermarkets is getting stuck into the export business and sending sparkling wines from England all the way over to the other side of the world and letting them loose on the affluent wine-loving Chinese middle classes. Happy days!
One of the most striking things about this Vineyard Olympics that I went to in the week was that it happened at all. The atmosphere between the vineyards was fantastic. I’m not going to be naive and say that everyone gets on like best buds all the time, that’d be pretty much impossible, but the fact that people gave up their days to show up and get together with great spirit shows a lot about what’s great with UK vineyards right now.
I get pretty lucky to get invited these days to some pretty cool events. Following my trip to Hambledon in Hampshire a few weeks back I was invited back to the county to check out the UK Vineyard Olympics. Well, I say UK, it was Hampshire vs Sussex. And I say Olympics, not sure cork bobbing made it to Rio. Their loss, eh?
I’ve been impressed over the past few months about how often English and Welsh wine are in the headlines. Sparkling wine from these shores are scooping up countless international taste awards, and are now being exported round the world. It’s a huge success story in a UK that doesn’t always seem to be moving in the right direction. But up until last week, I’d never been to visit one. How bad is that?
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.
Really hoping a few of you managed to brave the price bump this week and treat yourselves to a bottle (or two if you were feeling plush) of English bubbles. Amazingly enough we did manage to toast the sunshine this weekend, with the odd ray here and there on the Saturday and a full on factor 40 day for me on the Sunday. Lovely it was too!
English sparkling wine is made to be a fresh drinking wine for having a celebration with some mates. I’m racking my brain for what to celebrate, but if I see the sun once through the clouds in the next 24 hours then that’ll do!