Three Choirs Vineyards in
It was the Romans who brought their wine making skills to the UK a thousand years ago.
By the Middle Ages, England had a respectable amount of acreage devoted to grape growing.
However, eventually the increasing difficulties of the local climate (and the ease of obtaining better quality European wines from France and Germany), led to a decline in UK wine making.
Today, all that is changing, as the UK boasts hundreds of modern vineyards -- mainly in England, Wales and at least one vineyard in Scotland -- that are working to reverse the trend.
Some of them are even having quite a bit of success.
The chalky hills that produce sparkling white wines in southeast England, for example, lately have been scoring well with raters in private tastings, reviews and in award expos. The accolades, naturally, have lead to more interest in redeveloping a homegrown UK wine industry.
The hardy Seyval
Why the recent turnaround? Together with the growing green movement in the UK promoting the benefits of homegrown, changing weather patterns have also helped made the infamously soggy UK climate more palatable to the grape.
The Internet, as well, has become a central hub for helping to spread information and increased marketing efforts at sites such as ukvines.
Home grown grape varieties currently include the Seyval Blanc, Reichensteiner, Müller-Thurgau and Bacchus. Other widely grown varieties of white grape include Chardonnay, Madeleine Angevine, Schönburger, Huxelrebe and Ortega. Lesser grown red grapes include the Dornfelder and Pinot noir.
While wine touring may never overtake the overwhelming popularity of historic English pub crawls it's becoming increasingly likely among ecotourists, wine lovers, and/or the merely curious.
To clear up some of the confusion in labeling, remember that "British wine" is wine made from grapes grown elsewhere. Wines marked "English" or "Welsh" are made from grapes grown within the UK and therefore considered the genuine article.
More information about UK wines & wineries around the Web:
English Wines - And we quote, "This website aims to tell
you everything you want to know about English wine - its history,
which grapes are grown in England and Wales, what English wine
is like, where you can buy it, which vineyards you can visit .... and
more!" That about sums it up.
English Wine Producers - This professional marketing association provides even more information with searchable databases of UK wineries and vineyards by name or region, details of grape varieties, industry stats, and lists of English wine events by region.