The Romans were growing grapes and making wine in England 2,000 years ago but the first commercial vineyard in the British Isles was only planted in 1952. Fifty years on, there are over 500 and English and Welsh sparkling wines have started to beat grande marque Champagnes to the medals in international competitions.. Top producers like Ridgeview, Nyetimber and Camel Valley are extending their vineyards. A new, venture capital funded company has planted 100 ha of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier in Hampshire. And now, an application has been made to Brussels for the South Downs to be designated a Protected Denomination of Origin or PDO. The Champenois, who have never taken kindly to challenges to their franchise, have their land agents tramping over the South Downs looking for suitable sites to buy. Taittinger, indeed, already has vines in the ground. It’s all happening here! So, pour yourself a glass or two of good English (or Welsh) wine and settle down as Sandy Leckie tells you how it all came about.
Tutor: Sandy Leckie.
Wine suggestions: Leckford Estate Brut and/or ‘Blueprint’ English Dry White (£19.99 and £9.99 respectively) from larger Waitrose stores.
Bookings are closed for this event.