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10

VE LOC I TY

LIFESTYLE

WISE UP TO ENGLISHWINE

Even those who know their

Chardonnay from their Champagne

may not be experts when it comes to

wines made from home-grown grapes.

Simon Woodhead, Winemaking

Director of Stopham Vineyard in West

Sussex, explains everything you need

to know about the flourishing English

wine scene

Our weather is terrible. Is it really good for

making wine?

Although we moan about our weather, the climate in the South of England is actually only slightly

cooler than the Champagne wine-making region of France. e soil and agricultural conditions

are also very similar, making places like Sussex and Kent ideal for growing certain grapes, like

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

at said, the right weather at the right stage in the growing process is vital to ensure a bumper

crop, and some years certainly provide better growing conditions than others.

I’ve seen British wine. Is that the same as English wine?

No, it’s not. English wine is made from grapes grown in, unsurprisingly, England! e grapes are

grown and harvested here, before being processed into wine and bottled right here on home soil.

‘British wine’ is wine produced in Great Britain but using grape must – juice containing the skins,

seeds and stems – brought in from other countries. is is not generally high-quality wine.

Luckily, there are plenty of excellent true English wines being produced by growers across England

that you can buy instead!

Doesn’t England only produce sparkling wines?

Some of the best-known and most popular English wines are the sparkling ones, like the Stopham

Estate Brut Prestige. Sparkling English wines are sometimes referred to as ‘British Fizz’ as they use

the same grapes as Champagne and are fermented in the bottle. ey make up about

two-thirds of English wine produced.

However, some producers are growing several different types of grapes and creating

some top-quality still wines. ere are also some excellent vineyards in Wales and the

Welsh wine industry is growing.

But are our wines as nice as those from France or Italy, for instance?

Wine producers in England are making fantastic wines. Crisp white and sparkling

wines work particularly well in our climate. For example, some refer to the Stopham

Estate Pinot Blanc as the English ‘Sancerre’.

However, the proof is in the tasting! English wines perform consistently well

in blind taste tests with experts and also prove popular with some of the finest

palates in the food business – you can find English wines on the menu at many

top fine-dining restaurants across the UK.

Isn’t it expensive?

For sparkling wine, you can expect a price the same as Champagne. Not only

because it’s of such high quality, but also because our vineyards are smaller and

we produce fewer bottles than they do on the continent. English still wines are

also a premium product, and although you won’t find them in the three-for-two

bargain bin, they’re not sold at bank-breaking prices either.

If you want to make sure you’re making the right investment, you could

consider visiting a winery, or taking a vineyard tour. ese will usually let you

‘try before you buy’ so you can find the wine that best caters to your taste.

WWW.STOPHAMVINEYARD.CO.UK

FLOAT YOUR BOAT

ALL ABOARD A CANAL BOAT

FOR A UNIQUE DINING

EXPERIENCE

The London Shell Co combines Britain's

finest seafood, shellfish and seasonal

game with a boat trip through the heart

of north London, along the historic

Regent's Canal. It’s the perfect way to

celebrate or to escape and watch the

world go by.

Siblings Harry and Leah Lobek

established the company in October

2015 with

The Prince Regent

, a cobalt-

blue canal boat moored in Paddington.

Their cruise takes you past iconic

landmarks, including London Zoo and

Regent's Park, and reveals hidden

gems, such as the Maida Hill Tunnel.

Stuart Kilpatrick heads up the galley,

bringing a unique take to British and

European classics. The short, set menu

is updated daily according to what’s

in season, and is complemented by an

enlightening wine list.

The refurbished canal boat has a

small kitchen, an even smaller bar, and

a highly-professional, welcoming crew

who'll create a magical evening for you.

www.londonshellco.com

WINTER