focus on english wine
not such little englanders There’s a new voice for the English and Welsh wine industry in the form of Wines of Great Britain. Does that matter to independent merchants? Well, yes, it probably does
ureaucratic changes in the wine
trade don’t normally set the pulse
racing, but the tidying-up exercise
at the top of the English (and Welsh) wine industry feels more like a coming of age – perhaps a statement of intent.
The creation of Wines of Great Britain
from the merger of English Wine Producers and the UK Vineyards Association means that the industry can now talk with one
voice, both in a marketing sense and as a lobbying force.
as a wine region at a dramatic pace and
and working with whichever vintage we
producer, there is experimentation and
into one particular style as a region. We can
so as we are continuing to establish
our credentials as a top sparkling wine innovation going on in that sector,” she says.
“I mean an aged Blanc de Blancs that’s
not been disgorged for umpteen years …
we’re still waiting to see the results of that. “We are seeing it too in the production
Reichensteiner on bemused visitors at the
of some of our still wines. Who would have
already lobbied for its own PDO, and is
Kent, for example?
awaiting sign-off from Brussels.)
Wine gb hasn’t been set up to impose rules about yields, permitted grape
varieties or harvest dates. England is
still in growth mode, and while the big noise is inevitably coming from the
Champagne-style wines that are gradually winning a global following, there is still
experimentation and innovation going on. So says Julia Trustram Eve, head of
marketing at Wine GB. “We have evolved
terrific back stories.
“We’ve got some unbelievably talented
winemakers. New talent comes in and
existing talent is reaching out to produce
new things. It’s an exciting and heady time.”
“We’ve outgrown One Great George
quite like to be bound by the kind of
just to feel more authentic. (Sussex has
discover and ultimately that makes some
Lindley Hall in London for the first time.
These days, the English wine industry is
regulations that exist in mainland Europe,
still innovate, we can still experiment and
on Thursday, April 26 takes place at RHS
farm gate have been over for some time.
there’s almost a feeling that some would
“We’re so lucky in that we are not set
This year’s annual English wine tasting
The days of eccentric amateurs forcing
becoming so slick and so organised that
have and making something wonderful.
thought 20 years ago that Chardonnay
would produce such an epic still wine in “There’s some Albariño now being
produced by Chapel Down and in Wales at Ancre Hill. We’re seeing some wonderful developments with Pinot Gris; in great
years you’ve got some great Pinot Noir still reds.
“Actually I think there’s still some
traction to be gained in Bacchus being a signature grape variety.
“Winemakers are using oak, allowing the
wine to age for a bit longer before release, keeping that balance of acidity and fruit
THE WINE MERCHANT MARCH 2018 48
Street,” says Trustram Eve. “We love it but
we’ve had to move because we’ve got new producers coming in all the time and we wanted to give them the opportunity to show their wines.
“Fortunately the size of our industry is
such that we can still have a central table.
So expect to see more wines and some new producers. We are also starting to focus on regions so people can get to know them a
little bit more. We will be doing a series of seminars and industry briefings.
“There’ll be an opportunity for the
trade to come along and find out what
the industry body is all about and what it can do for them. They can ask questions
and we’re going to have some interesting debates as well.”
The Wine Merchant issue 67