Three cheers for homegrown vino
Craft beer may be booming and gin is, well, a thing, but the new tipple on the turnaround is English wine. Chin-chin!
A report by accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young shows that 46 new UK wine producers registered with the taxman last year. Compared with the year before, that's a 48% increase.
Why? Well, "the public is beginning to recognise that these wines have become well-regarded premium products," they say.
Once the butt of many a cruel joke, poor old English wine has finally left its image crisis behind and is being taken seriously.
Bart Wrzyszczynski, assistant manager of the Camel Valley Vineyard in Cornwall, told The Telegraph: “English wine is nothing like it used to be three or four decades ago – the quality now is so high … the industry in this country is booming.”
He added that wine grown in the UK is typically light, fruity and aromatic, which makes it good for an after work tipple or pre-dinner drink – you’re looking for depth when it comes to pairing food and wine, apparently.
The buzz around locally produced food drink such as artisan cheese and craft beer has helped too.
Roy Maugham, head of tax at UHY Hacker Young, said: “Food products such as organically-reared meats and drinks such as craft beer and artisan spirits have been the focus of increased demand.
"Now we’re seeing the same thing in the UK’s once-mocked wine industry.
"English wines have enjoyed a genuine renaissance over the last couple of years and are now being taken seriously on the international stage.”
He’s right. English wine has already won a string of accolades in the last couple of years, including beating French champagne heavyweights Bollinger and Louis Roederer to titles at competitions such as the International Wine Challenge.
However, it’s not just down to the sheer number of new vineyards cropping up in the UK. The warmer weather over the past few years (one degree can make the difference betwee a good or bad year) and focus on quality (sacrificing bigger yields and only picking the best fruit) has led to its success.
So, let us raise a glass to Grape Britain. Any excuse to celebrate, right?