Do you like wine? Did you know that Avalon School is not far from new English Wine Regions?
Most think of Brits more as wine drinkers and not winemakers
1) Traditionally seen as struggling with an unhelpfully cold climate, the English and Welsh wine industry has recently been helped by warmer summers and global warming. So far the last few decades have been growing grapes even in England. In particular England started to develop, grapes to produce sparkling wines, because those grapes prefer a cold climate!
2) The regions that produce wine in England are: Sussex, East Anglia, Kent, Surrey, Hampshire, South West. This regions are mainly located in the South of England.
But not only England , even Wales produces wine and, incredibly, also Scotland has started a little production of grapes!
It’s not secret that England sees a lot of rain. In the south, where the majority of viticulture is centred, the climate is slightly warmer and drier. With a little help from global warming, the average annual temperatures are on the rise. For now, the best regions for viticulture are along the southern strip of England’s coast, from Cornwall to Kent, and they share similar climates, soil types and grow an array of cool-climate suitable grapes varieties.
The three major regions to know are: Sussex, Kent and Surrey.
These regions are not far from Avalon School, just 1 hour and 30 minutes by train. You can easily leave from Victoria Station, every 30 minutes there is a train to get there. If you are interested ask at Avalon’s reception.
• Vineyards: 3550 acres / 1438 hectares (2012)
• Number of wineries: 128 (2016)
• First Vineyard: Hambledon Vineyard in Hampshire, established in 1951
• Production: 84% Sparkling and White Wine, 16% Red
3) Popular wine variety of England.
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, are the 3 primary grapes used for traditional method English sparkling wines.
Bacchus: A white German crossing of Silvaner x Riesling and Müller-Thurgau that makes aromatic wines that tend to be low acid. As a result, it tends to be used in blends.
Those grapes are growing well in these regions because they can find the same soil found in Champagne. Indeed, these grape varieties are the main grapes in the production of champagne. Recently English wine producers have started to make interesting wines, especially sparkling wines based on the same wine style of the famous Champagne. The cool climate helps preserve the acidity needed to make top tier sparkling.
The cool climate present in England ensures that those grapes keep good acidity in their bunches. Good acidity is the key to the sparkling wines in general.
4) Famous wine producers.
Late in 2015, Champagne house Taittinger announced its purchase of land in Kent intending to plant Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier on its newly acquired site. Taittinger is the first Champagne producer to jump on the English sparkling boom and invest in the country’s burgeoning wine industry.
Instead, some of the best English produce is Hush Heath.
Hidden away in beautiful Kent countryside near Staplehurst, the Estate produces one of England’s most iconic and exclusive sparkling wines using the Traditional Method. And its Balfour Brut Rose – which is made from the classic Champagne grape varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier – has duly won a host of awards.
England’s largest producers is Denbie’s Estate. The Denbies Estate, based in Dorking, Surrey, has been family owned and run since 1984. Denbies vineyard was planted in 1986, and since then has become one of the largest wine producers in the UK.
5) Important benefits of a good glass of wine.
One of the most important principles of drinking is: “It is better to drink a good glass of wine than a few glasses of a horrible wine”….drink less but better!!
The list of wine’s benefits is long – especially red wines where we can find resveratrol. Resveratrol helps to keep the heart healthy, reduce forgetfulness, boost your immunity, and help prevent bone loss. Wine helps prevent clots and reduce blood vessel inflammation, both of which have been linked to cognitive decline and heart disease. Wine also seems to raise HDL, the so-called good cholesterol, which helps unclog your arteries.
Of course we shouldn’t overdo it, 2-3 glasses of red wine a week is good enough for our health.
The best way to enjoy a glass of wine is always in the company of friends. It’s always nice to share a good bottle with people we love, especially if it’s good wine well paired with some good food!