When you think of Britain, you hardly think wine. France, Italy, Chile, Argentina, even Australia, sure. But have you ever gone out seeking a bottle of British wine? According to the Daily Mail, there are around 400 vineyards in the country, most of them in the warmer southern counties. The Queen even wants to get in on the act, making plans to plant 17,000 vines in Windsor Great Park to produce a sparkling wine.
The wine served at the Royal Wedding was British. Is this their time to shine?
Image: Karen Roe/Flickr
The author of the article toured a vineyard called Bolney Wine Estate in West Sussex, which actually used to be a chicken farm back in 1970. The 39 acres it sits on now grows 11 varieties of grapes and produces two popular reds — a Pinot Noir and Dark Harvest — despite the fact that traditionally red wine is harder to produce in England’s climate. To put things into perspective though, the estate produces 120,000 bottles per year while Ernest & Julio Gallo (of California) produce around 900 million per year.
Chapel Down Winery was also on the author’s tour itinerary. Although the county of Kent where it’s located is traditionally known for growing hops, the winery produces around 500,000 bottles per year. Their Vintage Reserve Brut is its best-selling sparking wine. While the British wine industry is still small, the trend is seeing imported vines replacing many crops that have been grown for centuries.