Is English wine still sparkling after Brexit?
Francis O’Hagan, Jackson Gilmour’s Director of Operations and resident wine buff, shares his thoughts on new trends and the impact of Brexit on the UK wine trade.
Brexit has had some effect on the UK wine trade with the falling pound against the Euro fueling cost increases and reducing profits, however, this doesn’t seem to have affected the rise and rise of English Sparkling wine. There is strength and depth amongst English wine producers now and it’s not only the brands with huge marketing budgets such as Camel Valley and Gusbourne Estates which are making an impact. Smaller producers such as Pebblebed and Balfour are also beginning to make their presence felt. The news that Taittinger & Partners have recently bought 69 hectares of prime vine growing land in Kent is a clear indication that the French also want to get in on the action
We always offer English Sparkling as an option for our events and have found it to be increasingly in demand for high-end events, with smaller guests lists. An event type which we are also seeing more of amongst many corporate clients. Personally I’m a huge fan - the quality is superb, the flavours are varied and interesting and it’s still novel enough to be a talking point. I often take a bottle along to a dinner party instead of a Grand Marc Champagne.
If your budget is more modest, or you have a lot of guests to please, you would be wise to consider Picpoul de Pinet. Few wines have risen in popularity as quickly as this modestly priced white wine which was almost unheard of a few years ago. Now it’s stealing market share from both Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon wines. It’s refreshing and fruity with a crisp finish and we often recommend it for stand up receptions and for delicately-flavoured starters such as lobster risotto or stilton soufflé.
Meanwhile, Prosecco’s unflagging popularity as the go-to drink – especially for women – in restaurants and bars, has transferred over into corporate entertaining. This is great news for event organisers’ watching their pennies; there is a lot of competition in this market making this crowd-pleasing sparkling very affordable.