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England and PDO’s

A very interesting article by Victoria Moore on PDO’s with in England , worth a read ;


Absolutely agree - there is no need for this, it’s a triumph of marketing over viti/viniculture, and this will just stifle development.


Similar comments by Jane MacQuitty in today’s Times. I think it’s an own-goal in so far as many of our leading / acclaimed producers are outside Sussex (Camel Valley / Furleigh / Chapel Down; though C-D does have some vineyards in Sussex, etc etc )

It would have been better for producers to apply for a larger - encompassing quality mark for southern England, and a “proper” marketing name maybe.

The whole English wine trade is as you say above!

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That’s a little harsh, not to say inaccurate… :slight_smile:
It’s a work in progress, without a doubt, but even the mighty French had to start somewhere…

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I wouldn’t want to be around when the venture capital boys get out of English wine! Banking on climate change to ripen grapes isn’t such a good idea long term.

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In a few years time I have no doubt that premier cru Domaine Trois Ponts en primeur pinot noir will be traded on the gris deuxieme marché for lots of cash and chateau Crawley will be scooped up by the Glyndebourne gluggers club.

Joking apart most of them are propped up by well heeled shareholders. Sussex and also Kent wineries are almost all a walking financial disaster.

Whilst I agree that many of the big names are propped up by venture capital or similar, betting against climate change ripening wine further north is even more foolish.

If Bordeaux needs to introduce new varieties to offset the issue, Burgundy’s climate has significantly changed (particularly wind-derived weather patterns), Barolo is re-evaluating which slope angle is actually desirable… it is not unreasonable to believe that the UK climate is more conducive to ripening the right varieties than it was before (or is now). Whether growers are selecting the right varieties is, of course, open to debate - climate change won’t change underlying geology, or soil type, and doesn’t just mean “same climate but hotter”.

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Probably the best person to speak to about English wine is Stephen Skelton MW. I attended his recent webinar on yields in the UK. He had to caveat his conclusions because of the limitations on data available but from the data he did have the indications were worrying. Pathetically low yields in many instances. Working out the precise cause of it was difficult. However poor site selection, wrong planting distances and lack of skilled pruning were likely contributing factors. This all points to people starting vineyards without proper professional advice.
Yields are not everything but they tell you something.
I get tired of WineGB dishing out awards like confetti. No doubt later this month the latest tranche to gold,silver and bronze will be trumpeted by the awards committee. I look at many uk winery websites that almost universally contain the phrase “our award winning wines.” It has become meaningless.
The problem with English winemaking is that we are in too much of a rush. The recent explosion in volume in terms of increase in planting needs to slow down.
I do not dispute the fact that some outstanding sparkling wines are made. But I think that there are also serious underlying issues that need to be addressed. Some of which I have already mentioned. In an largely unregulated industry that is not going to happen unless WineGB starts to show some constructive leadership. If the best it can do is brandish its “Great British classic method” trademark then all I can envisage is the making of grand marketing claims based on an illusion.


I agree, but there are many other examples of meaningless marketing claims - in all fields.

“Award-winning” is a classic example. Is there a butcher in the land whose sausages and/or pies have not won an award? Most likely a “commended” ribbon in a local agricultural show sometime last century.

Some vineyards round here in Surrey seem to rely quite heavily on local volunteers to do the pruning.

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Viz-a-viz marketing hype. Our own Mr Horsley isn’t too shabby. Anyone els got the ‘Homegrown Heroes’ email about English Wine Week?

I think getting the Emperor’s New Clothes into the laundrette is overdue.

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Oh dear.