5 reasons to swap champagne for English sparkling wine

15 May 2019

English Wine Week starts on 25 May, and it comes at a very exciting moment in English wine making.

Last year, a record-breaking 15.6 million bottles were produced by English wine makers -- that’s 130% more than the previous year -- and it’s widely reported that English sparking wine was served at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. If it’s good enough for the royals…

To celebrate English Wine Week, Travelzoo has teamed up Laithwaite’s Wine to create a fantastic prize draw, giving you the chance to win tickets to an exclusive English sparkling wine-tasting event with expert Grant Hedley.

Here are five reasons why English sparkling wine is enjoying a moment in the sun and why you should give it a try this summer:

The perfect conditions

There are over 500 vineyards in the UK now, including more than 25 in Wales and Scotland, but the majority are in the southeast of England.

The soil and terrain make large parts of southern England ideal for growing vines. The soil in much of Sussex, for example, is the same chalk/clay mix as found in the Champagne region of France -- perfect conditions for chardonnay and pinot noir grapes.

The perfect climate for vineyards

Thanks to the sunny and warm weather we have experienced in recent years, as well as improved technical know-how and pioneering research into more robust grape varieties, there has been an explosion in both scale and quality -- half of Laithwaite’s English vineyards have been planted in just the last six years!

Thanks to the glorious weather in the summer of 2018, last year’s vintage is said to be one of England's best ever.

The great taste

English sparkling wine has lovely citrusy notes, as well as hints of honey, apple and fresh brioche. Wine expert Grant Hedley recommends enjoying English sparking wine as an aperitif, ideal for summer garden parties, or paired with oysters or white fish, goat’s cheese, or perhaps a light salad -- meaning right now is the perfect time to buy a bottle or two as we head from spring into summer.

And of course, a great way to enjoy English sparkling wine is with good company on a long summer evening as the sun goes down.

The English wine industry benefits

With more and more of us placing greater value than ever on the provenance of our food and drink, it’s always great to support local producers. From Sussex to Yorkshire, there are plenty of fantastic English vineyards making delicious, award-winning wines. And with a growing number of smaller companies producing wine, too, you can be sure that each grape, vine and bottle has had plenty of love and attention.

Right now, there are around 2000 people working in the industry, but over the next 20 years, that number is predicted to swell to between 20,000 and 30,000 -- the more wine we drink, the more jobs we create. Cheers to that!

The perfect way to celebrate English Wine Week

English Wine Week starts on 25 May, and wine makers across the country will come together to celebrate with talks, vineyard tours, wine tastings and more.

Alongside our wine-tasting prize draw, we’ve teamed up with Laithwaite's to create a special case of six bottles of English sparkling wine and one bottle of French champagne so you can taste the difference yourself. 

This prize draw is now closed.

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