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2019 Summer Wine

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2019 Summer Wine

summer wine

As we move into the second half of 2019, our motivations for what we choose to eat are ever changing, with vegan, vegetarian, organic and eat local lifestyles becoming more popular, as consumers gain more awareness around the impact that food production has on the environment. But what about our decisions when it comes to what we drink? 2019 has been the year for ‘new’ drinks - you have probably noticed them on supermarket shelves and cafe and restaurant menus. Fermented tea, Local craft beer, CBD oil… but, what about wine?

Vegan, organic, vegetarian and natural wine production is on the increase, not only supporting the latest food trends but also reflecting demand from health and environmentally conscious consumers. That being said, wine production is complex, and many wines produced still aren’t vegan, with some not even vegetarian. Sadly, it is difficult to track down vegan or vegetarian wine due to laws around labelling, with no obligation for winemakers to state whether they've used animal products or not. Luckily, the UK casual dining market has begun to recognise this with the likes of Pizza Express, wagamama and Loungers providing lots of choice when it comes to vegan wine – hopefully other operators and producers will catch on.

If you’re keen to improve your carbon footprint and want to opt for more locally sourced products, the good news is that wine is not out of the question. In fact, English white wine, grown and produced on your doorstep, is the perfect choice this summer! Wait - English wine? Josie has encountered this question many times, with comments such as ‘too expensive, ‘a risky choice’, ‘poor quality’, ‘tastes awful’, ‘if all the wine ran out, English wine would be my last resort’.

Now, let’s dispel some myths. Commonly described as the ‘English Champagne’, English sparkling wine has more in common with the Champagne region than you may think! Vineyards in England are increasingly winning awards for their sparkling and white wine production. At the 2018 Sommelier Wine Awards, 3,000 wines were blind tasted by expert judges and more gold medals went to wines from England than France. So why are we not purchasing it more?

As I said, many find that English wine is too expensive and do not want to risk spending a higher amount for a wine that they may not enjoy, but the truth is that you should expect to spend £10-15 on a good quality wine from a supermarket anyway. The UK duty on non-sparkling wine is £2.23, therefore, if you spend £6 on a bottle, the remaining is split between transport, logistics, labelling, admin and corks etc, which leaves very little for the winemaking process and ultimately means poor quality wine.

The South of England is fortunate enough to have a warmer climate and free draining chalk - much similar to our French neighbours, which enables many grape varieties, such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, to thrive. Don’t be fooled though, few consumers realise that ‘English wine’, made in England from English grown grapes, is different to ‘British wine’, which is made in England from imported grapes and is often cheap and of poor quality. So, if you only buy one bottle of wine this summer, I challenge you to choose a bottle of English produced wine and celebrate Grape Britain!

My favourite English vineyards – Nyetimber and Three Choirs.

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