UK retailer Tesco has predicted that English sparkling wine will be the surprise fizz on a record number of Christmas dinner tables this year.
According to wine retail specialists CGA, demand for English sparkling wines has grown by more than 60% across the UK market in the last year. Tesco’s sales data has revealed that nearly one in three Champagne customers has switched to English alternatives.
Prosecco still rules the roost, however, with demand up by 20% and it continuing to outsell among British consumers.
“The incredible success of Prosecco over the last few years has opened the cellar door for other quality sparkling wines and this year early sales suggest English fizz will make it onto the Christmas table for the first time,” said Rob Dixon, Tesco Champagne and sparkling wine buyer.
Tesco are keen to capitalise on this trend: The retailer launched its first English sparkling wine a year ago and has expanded its range to four lines, including Chapel Down’s Brut and Rose, as well as its English Sparkling Wine made by Hush Heath Estate.
The number of acres planted with grapevines in England and Wales has grown by 135% over the past decade, according to the English Wine Producers trade body.
Over the next 12 months, the UK’s wine producers are set to plant a record one million vines, which will increase production by two million more bottles of vine per year, according to Tesco.
“The quality of English sparkling wine has massively improved over the last few years and there has been a lot of investment in production techniques and especially in the actual growing of the grapes as well as training, knowledge and expertise of English winemakers,” Dixon said.
“The quality of English sparkling wines has also been helped by warmer weather over the last few years and in particular two great Septembers in 2015 and 2016,” Dixon added.
“Conditions in parts of Kent and other areas of southern England are said to be similar to the Champagne region of France 80 to 100 years ago.”
© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Kevin Duggan. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.