Waitrose has become the first UK supermarket to export English wine to China, a statement from the company has revealed.
Four English sparkling wines will be sold through the Royal Mail store on Tmall, an online marketplace operated by Alibaba Group, from 12 April.
Waitrose sold its first English wine in 2001 and now offer a range of over 100 varieties of English and Welsh wines.
The retailer has chosen four sparkling wines for export - two white and two rosés. Included in the selection are wines from Ridgeview in Sussex, Wiston Estate in West Sussex, and Camel Valley in Cornwall, as well as the Leckford Estate Brut, which is made from grapes grown on the Waitrose farm in Hampshire.
Rise Of English Wines
"We know that Western wines are increasing in popularity in China. This range of English wines represents an important and innovative part of the British food and drink industry," said Becky Hull, an English and Welsh wine buyer for the retailer.
Julia Trustram Eve from English Wine Producers, an umbrella organisation for vineyards, called the move "a fantastic step forward in showing international consumers what high quality wines are produced over here."
She also said that the initiative "will encourage more visitors from China to explore our wines and vineyards further."
The British secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, Andrea Leadsom, said that "Britain is a great, global, trading nation and it’s fantastic Waitrose is now supplying some of our finest home-grown ranges to China."
She went on to say that "the number of countries enjoying our wine increased by a third last year, and with our major producers on track to deliver a ten-fold increase in exports, we could soon see wine produced on the Sussex Downs on supermarket shelves around the world."
Waitrose reported that its sales of English sparkling wines are up 52.6% year-on-year.
The retailer reported that last Christmas one in every ten bottles of sparkling wines sold was from England or Wales.
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