So fizzing with confidence is the burgeoning army of Home Counties vignerons which Frazer Thompson, Chief Executive of Chapel Down, one of our biggest producers on the Kent/ Sussex borders, detects “a gold rush on the North and South Downs”. The Queen served Ridgeview to the Chinese Premier, while wonderful Hush Heath is the sparkling wine of choice on BA first class flights.
Global warming has few benefits but it has given southern England the same climate which Champagne had three decades ago. Recently Tattinger bought land in Kent to make sparkling wine in partnership with British firm Hatch Mansfield, the first French foray into England to produce plonk. More such partnerships are rumoured, which will propel English sparkling wine into global distribution networks. Ministers have hosted a roundtable with wine producers, who are looking for a 10-fold increase in exports by 2020 – which is more than can be said for the average surviving British widget factory.
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