Sales of English wine - both sparkling and still - have boomed over the last year, London wine merchant Berry Bros and Rudd says.
English still wines: ‘up 54%’
While numbers are still ‘relatively modest’, BBR says sales of sparkling wine have increased by 50%, with still wines sales going up by 54%.
Sales of certain sparkling wines are also very healthy in Hong Kong, English wines buyer Simon Field MW told Decanter.com.
Last year BBR sold 3000 cases of English sparkling wine to a value of £150,000. In 2011 it was 4000 cases with a value of £230,000.
In English still wine – a sector that is generally seen as the poor relation of sparkling – Field said they sold 230 cases in 2011, with a value of £13,000, as compared to 180 last year.
English still wines on the BBR list include Wickham Vineyards in Hampshire, Chapel Down in Kent and Camel Valley in Cornwall.
The best sellers among the sparkling wines are Ridgeview Grosvenor, Nyetimber Classic Cuvée, and Chapel Down Pinot Reserve, Field said, adding that sales of Camel Valley Red Sparkling, and Jenkyn Place from Hampshire are ‘good’, and that BBR now supplies English sparkling to the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Albert Hall.
Ridgeview and Nyetimber are the top sellers in Hong Kong.
On the question of the price of English sparkling, while there is some suggestion that in order to grow the sector producers will have to bring prices down, Field said he thought the pricing is ‘fair’ – and that sales were showing resilience due to ‘patriotic’ consumers.
‘They are fairly priced vis-à-vis Champagne, and are starting to show their mettle in terms of tastings. At the moment English vintage wines are priced at the same levels as non-vintage Champagnes, which I think, qualitatively, is starting to weigh in favour of the patriotic ticket.’
See Susy Atkins’ pick of 21 four and five star sparkling and still English wines as shown in the September issue of Decanter.
Written by Adam Lechmere