From Grapes to Glass
What makes Greyfriars English Sparkling Wine so special
Wine in England and in particular sparkling wine is currently going through a recent boom. Several factors have caused this. Climate change and warming has moved the northerly limit from the south of the English Channel to somewhere between Oxford and Birmingham for grape growing and wine production. The chalk geology of the North and South Downs is the same as one finds in Champagne and is particularly good for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In addition, increased investment and professionalism has raised the standard of all viticulture and winemaking in England.
There has been an noticeable focus on sparkling wine production rather than still wine. Making sparkling wine using the traditional method requires slightly less ripe (lower sugars) and slightly more acidic grapes than still wine production. Therefore, the climate in Southern England is consistently warm enough to produce world class, high quality and consistent English Sparkling Wine. It is no longer a shock for English Sparkling Wine to beat the top Champagnes in blind taste testings.
In 2016 Britain produced around five million bottles of wine of which two thirds were sparkling. However English wine production is still very small and although this sounds like a lot, here in Britain we consume a whopping two billion bottles of wine in total a year, plus one hundred million bottles of Champagne and other sparkling wines as well as sixty million bottles of Prosecco. The opportunity for Greyfriars along with all UK vineyards is to persuade the British public to consume a little less wine from our overseas winemaking friends and more of our English wine. This is our ongoing challenge.