We heard some really encouraging news over the Christmas period.
According to the Guardian newspaper, Marcus Waring’s recently opened London restaurant, Sir Gilbert Scott, is now selling more glasses of English sparking wine than Moët et Chandon, theChampagne region’s biggest global brand.
“When I first put English sparkling wine on my wine lists five years ago, people were scared,” said Mark Cesareo, head sommelier at the Sir Gilbert Scott, which stocks three English sparklers. “The people who were most averse were the English themselves while tourists and even French people wanted to try it.
“Now I stock three English wines by the glass, Gusbourne, Ridgeview and Nyetimber. If I sell 10 cases of Moët a week, I will do six of Gusbourne, five of Ridgeview and three of Nyetimber.”
According to a recent Wine Intelligence consumer report published in Decanter magazine, 15 million out of 25 million people in the UK who consume sparkling wine more than once a year have tried English Sparkling Wine and “English sparkling wine growth has been phenomenal (in 2011), and the product appears to be familiar to a much wider group than we had previously thought.”
Berry Brothers and Rudd have reported a 50% growth in English Sparkling Wine sales and Waitrose reported that sales of English Sparkling Wine grew by almost a third in 2011. In the three months to Christmas sparkling wine sales at Waitrose grew by 26% compared to the same period in 2010.
Coupled with this is the news that Ridgeview is now selling 20% of its production overseas into the US, Finland, Japan and Hong Kong.
Remember that we still import over 35 million bottles of Champagne and we only produce 2-3 million bottles of English sparkling wine per annum.
It was a good Christmas and New Year for English wine producers and given the quality and value to be had in English Sparkling Wine it has a very bright future as well.