Waitrose has announced that English winery Ridgeview will make the UK supermarket's own-brand sparkling wine, due for launch in 2014.
The grapes for the wine, a vintage sparkling white, come from Waitrose’s own plantings on its farm, the 1,600ha Leckford estate in Hampshire, southern England.
The first harvest took place last week, with the grapes being sent straight to Ridgeview, in Sussex.
Waitrose wine buyer Matt Smith said, ‘English wine has never been so popular, with volume sales up 20% year on year. The Leckford vineyard is a supermarket first which is leading the way for even more great wines to be made in this country.’
Mike Roberts MBE, owner of Ridgeview said: ‘We are proud to have been chosen by Waitrose, which has been unrivalled in its support of English Wine. The grapes looked wonderful when they were brought in for pressing and I am sure they will make for award-winning wines when released.’
Waitrose is the biggest retailer of English sparkling wine in the country, claiming a 65% market share.
It announced back in 2008 that it was to plant vines at Leckford. The farm also produces dairy, eggs, chickens, flour and a variety of fruit and fruit juices.
Wine consultant Stephen Skelton MW oversaw the vineyard project, which comprises four to five hectares of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay on chalk hills and clay loam on either side of the River Test.
The supermarket said it felt the land was appropriate for growing grapes, due to its favourable exposure and similarity to the soils of Chablis and Champagne.
- Decanter editor Guy Woodward will chair a debate entitled ‘The Future of English Sparkling Wine’, and featuring Mike Roberts and other winemakers and retailers, at the International Sparkling Wine Symposium at Denbies estate on November 2.
Image: John Lewis Partnership
Written by decanter.com staff