A new website has been set up to showcase and sell English sparkling wines.
Sparklingenglishwine.com – which was launched two days ago – is the brainchild of three Plumpton College graduates and wine trade professionals.
The aim of the site is to showcase only the highest-quality English sparkling wine, managing director Jeremy Cook told Decanter.com.
Producers will be vetted by means of blind tastings, ‘or they must have won an award,’ Cook said.
Smaller producers will be able to piggy-back on the site without having to set up their own marketing and sales operation.
So far Sparkling English Wine has some 10 producers on its books – including RidgeView, Nyetimber, Breaky Bottom, Gusbourne and Biddenden and aims to add ‘at least one a week’.
An advantage of the site, Cook believes, is the marketing power of having a portfolio of wines rather than individual producers.
‘Especially when it comes to export – there is a great advantage to being able to group together a number of producers. There is a huge amount of work and expense for a single producer to mount a marketing operation.’
At present the site is concentrating on sparkling wine ‘because that is the evolving side of the industry and that is what everyone is talking about at the moment’ Cook said, although they are ‘not ruling out including still wines at some point in the future’.
As for the ongoing debate about finding a generic name for English sparkling such as Britagne, as suggested by producer Christian Seely, or Merret, backed by Mike Roberts of RidgeView, he is doubtful.
‘I think having the word “England” or “English” in the name is a major selling point. I don’t know if a created name really adds prestige to a brand.’
Sparkling English Wine will also be taking a portable wine bar around major summer events in the UK, starting with the Bisley Live gun and country sports show in September.
‘Our business plan is to simply get people drinking English sparkling wine,’ Cook said. ‘Then they will see how good it is.’
Written by Adam Lechmere