Due to climate change, the United Kingdom is benefiting from increasingly favorable climatic conditions for viticulture. Its relatively young terroirs are especially suitable for the production of white and sparkling wines.
New rising world reference
A brief history of the vineyards
Historically, vineyards flourished in England during the 8th century.
But in the 15th century, French wines that were already massively imported, led to the decline of British viticulture.
It was revived in the 1950s. But here again, the cool climate and rainfall did not favor the development of a stable vineyard.
England therefore relied on white grape varieties with high yields, often of German origin (Müller-Thurgau, Seyval white, Reichensteiner, Madeleine Angevine, Scheurebe, Schönburger, Bacchus…), which are better adapted to a cold and humid climate.
Nowadays, England is a new rising world reference for its world-class bubbles, awarded with prizes in international competitions.
Adapted to cool climates
The grape varieties grown in the UK have the particularity of being adapted to cool climates: late flowering, maturity and less susceptibility to diseases.
Thus, among the white grape varieties, Bacchus is the 3rd most planted variety in Great Britain (10% of the total), Seyval – 4th most planted variety.
Chardonnay is one of the most cultivated European grape varieties (23% of production). But the United Kingdom also grows Pinot Noir (2nd most planted grape variety) and Pinot Meunier.
These last 3 varieties are used to produce fine bubbly wines, which represent 66% of the country’s wine production.
British vineyards are mainly located in the south of England and Wales. The best areas for wine growing are located along the southern strip of the English coast, from Cornwall to Kent.
Extent of the vineyard
The British vineyard extends over 3,000 hectares (ha).
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