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English wine sales rocketing

English wine may taste of rain, but sales are rocketing.

Recent figures from the UK Vineyards Association show English wine sales doubling in the last seven years – from £5.2m (€8.3m) 1994 to £12.5m (€20m) in 2001. Sales are forecast to reach nearly £14 (€22.4m) by the end of this year.

Although English wine is often derided by critics – one said famously ‘English wine always tastes of rain’ – but it can hold its own amongst the best.

Recently West Sussex producer’s award-winning Nyetimber sparkling wine was served to the Queen at 10 Downing St, the Prime Minister’s London residence.

The reasons for this positive upturn are clear, says Julie Trustram-Eve of English Wine Producers.

‘Thanks to supermarkets and drink stores, sales have increased tenfold, not only regionally but nationally. Producers such as New Wave Wines, Three Choirs and Camel Valley Vineyards are a new generation of winemakers who have acquired a large following.’

New Wave is about to capitalise on this upturn by relaunching next week, and Three Choirs has had successes with reasonably-priced supermarket sales.

Frazer Thompson of New Wave Wines says, ‘English winemakers and grape growers have become professional businesses. We at New Wave are making wine to rival the best in the world.’

Written by Nicky Manson13 May 2002

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