06 June 2024

These are the best sparkling wines to toast English Wine Week

06 June 2024

With WineGB citing 2023 as a record harvest and vintage to remember, wine tourism and demand at an all-time high, English sparkling wines are giving champagne a run for its money.

Moreover, with wine estates throwing open their cellar doors for tastings, masterclasses, tours and fizz fests, English Wine Week (June 15 to 23) is a wine lover’s highlight.

Today, with more than 900 vineyards spread across Great Britain, viticulture and winemaking taking centre stage with award-winning home-grown fizz and rocketing reputation for excellence – there’s plenty out there to satisfy your thirst.

“It’s a fantastic time to be part of our industry, which seems to be growing from strength to strength,” says Simon Roberts, head winemaker at Ridgeview in Sussex.

“It feels like there’s a real buzz about the industry, and it’s now quite unusual not to see an English wine on most restaurant wine lists.

“With viticulture now the leading sector in the agriculture industry, it shows how far we have come in the last 30 years,” notes Roberts.

Meanwhile, Chapel Down’s chief marketing officer, Liam Newton says: “Our mission is to change the way the world thinks about English wine.

“If you’ve yet to experience English wine, or have never visited an English vineyard, then English Wine Week will provide you with the perfect opportunity.”

There will be tastings, events and tours across the country, including those at their brand home in Tenterden, Kent, enthuses Newton.

“We’re also raising a glass of Chapel Down in anticipation of Royal Ascot [June 18 to 22], to celebrate being the official English sparkling wine of the world’s most prestigious race meeting.”

To put you on the front foot, they’ve just launched their Chapel Down Royal Ascot Edition – the latest in a growing number of associations – and are looking forward to having their own sparkling wine bar at Royal Ascot.

“Whatever the occasion, it’s the perfect time to try one of our award-winning wines,” says Newton.

Elsewhere, with the summer social season in full swing, Danielle Whitehead, marketing manager at Roebuck Estates in West Sussex says: “We can’t wait to share our passion for growing with fellow horticulture lovers at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival [July 2 to July 7], where we’re the official sparkling wine partner.”

“This is a real first for English fizz and shows just how much interest in home-grown sparkling wine there is – we’ll be there throughout the show so everyone can try our Classic Cuvée from the truly outstanding 2018 vintage for themselves.”

One of the pioneers of English sparkling wine with vineyards across Sussex, Hampshire and Kent, Nyetimber’s growing portfolio of stellar sparklers includes this latest release to celebrate athletic achievement.

As Cherie Spriggs, Nyetimber’s head winemaker puts it: “This year, English Wine Week is an exciting time for Nyetimber as the Official Sparkling Wine of Team GB for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.”

“Our new Limited-Edition Team GB Classic Cuvee Multi-Vintage bottle is a tribute to Team GB athletes’ unwavering dedication and passion – values we share when crafting our renowned sparkling wines,” says Spriggs.

With great wine experiences, tastings galore and cellar door dining experiences, England’s oldest commercial vineyard is gearing up for the gastronomic side of English wine, not to mention Fizz Fest, where eight wine estates come together to showcase a wealth of award-winning wines.

“This year’s English Wine Week is set to be a standout celebration, and you definitely don’t want to miss it!” says Aude Villebrun, brand director for Hambledon, nestled in the heart of Hampshire.

“English sparkling wines have truly come into their own, boasting exceptional quality and a variety of styles that can rival some of the best from around the world.”

She continues: “A highlight of our English Wine Week event includes our special Cheese and Wine flight, featuring two exquisite cuvées paired with two fine English cheeses, to showcase the incredible produce that our unique terroir has to offer.

“Or, join us at The Grange on June 23 for Fizz Fest; shining a light on Hampshire’s finest English Sparkling Wines in a big way – cheers to that!”

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