You may not expect to hear this often, but climate change may arguably be a good thing for some, in this case for those in the English Wine Industry – at least according to one article in the NY Times. You may be starting to notice that English wines are getting more attention and making the news more often. Indeed, we have our sights set on a wine tour of England. Not sure when but having personally visited wineries in Sussex and Kent, we have become believers of English wines.
Ridgeview was our favorite visit- and evidently Eric Asimov (NY Times) loves it also, since he was the one who inspired us to visit there some years ago. Ridgeview’s sparkling wines were served by the Queen at Buckingham Palace at a state banquet for the President of China. And in 2015 they won 16 medals in wine competitions, including 3 Gold. So they must be doing something right.
There are some people who are concerned that’s it’s happening way too fast for the good of the English wine industry. The current acreage of over 2,000 vineyards is expected to double within the next 7 years. One local expert, Tim Atkin MW, suspects that there will be a falling out of the weakest since the price point for English wines is as high as imported wines. And the British have not yet started accepting or even acknowledging the existence of good English wines.
But there are many who stand ready to promote and espouse English wines. Someone even turned up an obscure tidbit that the Champagne process was actually discovered in Britain in 1662 when an English scholar, Christopher Merret, presented a paper on the topic to the Royal Society, which would be 8 years before Dom Perignon traveled to Champagne, 20 years before the French made their first sparkling wine and more than 60 years before the first Champagne house was created.
And what about climate change? The days of clouds and rain and cold temps are changing in England. In fact Sussex- where many of the wineries are located- is warming faster than the global average. One scientist, Richard Selley of Imperial College in London, reports a prediction that by 2080 in some of the southern areas of England, “it will be too hot for winemaking.”
Meanwhile there are winemakers who are hedging their bets, moving from traditional wine regions to merry old England. One example is Matthieu Elzinga who had his own winery in France’s Loire Valley in 2013 and moved to southern England.
Much of the above information was inspired again by one of my favorite sources of information: the New York Times.
More on English Wines:
- English Wines? I Told You So
- English Wines: A Unique Tasting – (English Wine Suggestions and Tasting Notes)
- English Wine: “It’s Not a Joke Anymore”
- NYT – British Wine Benefits as the Climate Changes
- Eric Asimov – NYT – A Bright Future for English Sparkling Wine
- WSJ – A Weekend Away in Southern England’s Wine Country