VE LOC I TY
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
Our weather is terrible. Is it really good for
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
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
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