Recently, I spent a few days with a small group of travel writers, from the US and Russia, on a trip to North Wales and the Lake District with Visit Britain. It was great because I explored a lot of new places and did some things I had never done before.
One of the things we did, while having dinner one evening in the Lake District, was to try an English sparkling wine. I was really pleased because I love wine, especially one with bubbles, and I always like to try local wine. By local, in this case I mean from England rather than Cumbria.
I’m not an expert on wine and knew very little about the UK wine industry before writing this post so, as a non-wine expert, all I can say is that I liked the wine we tried (Nyetimber Classic Cuvée). It was light and refreshing – a perfect aperitif.
I know that many people don’t associate good wine with the UK, but wine-making and drinking has been around for a long time. The history seems a little patchy but it looks as if the Romans and Christians had something to do with it because they liked to drink wine. Throughout history, it was in and out of vogue, depending on what was happening in the UK at the time.
Wine production from the middle ages to 20th Century waned, although wine consumption didn’t, which could be because improved transport links with Europe made it easier and cheaper to import wine. The UK became known for selecting, importing, and storing wine rather than producing it. Nonetheless, some continued to produce wine in Southern England with short-lived success because of the uncertain climate as well as changing fashions and tastes.
It wasn’t until the 1950s that the modern commercial wine industry in the UK was born because of the determination of three men who did some research to show that it was possible to produce wine. Finally, in the 1970s, wine started to appear on the market. Since then, wine production around the UK has continued to grow. Apparently, there are over 400 vineyards across the UK, although the majority are located in Southern England. The main grape variety is Chardonnay, followed closely by Pinot Noir. This is possibly because some vineyards have focused solely on the Champagne varieties (Chardonnay, Pinor Noir, and Pinot Meunier), like the wine I tried that evening.
Have your say
Do you like trying local wines when you travel? If you have been to the UK, have you tried any of the wine produced there? Perhaps you know more about the UK wine industry that you would like to add. If so, leave a comment below.
As mentioned at the start, I tried this wine while I was on a trip, (on behalf of Traveldudes) that was organised by Visit Britain. I didn’t pay for the trip, nor the wine. Nonetheless, I have the freedom to write about anything I want and express my thoughts and views as I wish.