English wines (this heading includes Wales, although there are fewer vines grown there) have gained in stature considerably in recent years. English vineyards have matured and this, together with our warmer summers and better wine making techniques, have all helped the industry to gather pace. England is increasingly being recognised as a premium wine producing region and UK vineyard size has doubled since 2006. Many wineries can be found in the south east, with Kent and Sussex, where the soil types are particularly suited to vine growing, having the largest share. Vines grown in East Anglia, the driest region in the UK, also do well. View our selection.
English wine regions
Known as the ‘garden of England’, Kent is an expanding area for English wines. A warmer climate and a varied terroir, plus enthusiasm has made this something of a success story. Biddenden and Tenterden are amongst the growing number of vineyard areas. Amongst the grape varieties cultivated are Seyval Blanc, Bacchus, Ortega and Reichensteiner for white wines, and Dornsfelder for red. Kentish Sparkling wines are made mainly from the Champagne classics, Chardonnay & Pinot Noir, and they are becoming worthy rivals to their famous competitor across the channel.
An expanding area for English wines, with the chalky soil of the South Downs especially suitable for making sparkling wines. A warmer climate and increased know-how have contributed to the quality of the wines made here in recent years. Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay are used to make many sparkling wines, with other varieties such as Huxelrebe, Reichensteiner, Müller-Thurgau, and Dornsfelder employed to produce still wines.
English wine styles
Although increasingly good red wines are being produced, the majority are white, with Seyval Blanc, Reichensteiner, and Müller-Thurgau being the main varieties. English white wines are fragrant, zesty with a refreshing acidity and they make a genuine contribution to the range of textures and flavours available to the consumer. English Sparkling wines are especially successful, at their best they can rival, or even beat, Champagne for quality and style. Welsh wine making is small in scale and is concentrated mostly in the south Wales. It is certainly worth seeking out local wineries if travelling in the area.
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