In their 2008 report on the future of wine, prominent wine and spirit merchants Berry Bros. & Rudd predicted that British bubbly could rival French Champagne in years to come.
“Today, there are 1,000 vineyards in England across Kent, Hampshire, Essex and Sussex and production in 2006 was just over 3.3 million bottles. Berrys believes, the amount of English farmland devoted to wine production may rival that of France by 2058,” the report stated.
“French Champagne producers such as Louis Roederer have been looking at the chalky soil of the South Downs with interest, believing it offers them a great opportunity to produce sparkling wines similar to Champagne itself.”
It is therefore with interest that I saw this recent article in Decanter that AXA wine boss Christian Seely, managing director of prestigious estates including Château Pichon-Longueville Baron and Quinta do Nova has started his own English sparkling wine venture.
The new venture, with old friend Nick Coates, will be called Seely & Coates. “The venture In Hampshire has five hectares of Pinot Noir and German varieties and a further seven hectares have been planted in the chalky soils with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir this spring. It is estimated total production capacity could reach 60,000-70,000 bottles in the future,” Decanter reported.