It's time to start buying English wine. Just think of it as an act of patriotism. Ahem
France, move over. Italy, step aside. Fresh, bright, clean English wines are on the up, and they're only getting better.
This year, HMRC has seen a 41% increase in applications to produce home-grown bottles. On top of this, the British wine industry is now set to break the £100m sales mark for the first time this year, and with this summer's warm weather resulting in a happy grape harvest in Sussex, it's clear that our very own plonk is staking a claim for a place on the international wine scene.
"English sparkling wine has certainly put itself on the map," says wine writer, presenter and author Helena Nicklin, AKA Winebird. "We had a record number of awards this year, which shows how quickly the quality is increasing – and that this is being recognised. Winemakers everywhere now understand that Britain has the ideal combination of soils and climate to make quality fizzy wine with its own personality."
Our appetite for everything handmade and locally sourced is surely at play here, too. The 2015 FSA strategy report shows that the public is after seasonal, local products without the carbon footprint of air travel and imports. Drinking wine made here just makes sense.
So what to try? Here are a few suggestions of the finest stills and fizz made on our own fair isle.
1. If you love champagne: Nyetimber Classic Cuvée
Why try it? English fizzy tends to have apple-tasting notes (as opposed to champagne's lemony ones) and this drink is no exception. One of the most respected names about, Nyetimber's classic cuvée is golden, gentle and elegant, with a slight toastiness and hints of almond.
How much? £29.95
2. If you love rosé: Bolney Rosé
Why try it? Yes, you can make pink wine in the UK, too. Classic English flavours (gooseberry, vanilla fudge) muddle with raspberry and lychee, for a thoroughly delicate drink.
How much? £13.99
3. If you love sauvignon blanc: Albourne Estate Bacchus
Why try it? Because it won UK Wine of the Year 2015, thank you very much. This is bright and pale, refreshing and acidic, with flavours of nettle, elderflower blossom and grass, along with citrus and passion fruit.
How much? £12.95