When did modern grape growing begin in England and Wales?
What grapes were originally planted?
- After World War II;
- Hybrids and German crosses.
When were traditional Champagne varieties planted in England and Wales (with the aim of producing Traditional Method sparkling wine)?
- traditional Champagne grapes are now 65% of plantings and production
What accounts for the long growing season in England and Wales?
What result does this have on the grapes?
- Northerly latitude – all vineyards are above 50°;
- Long daylight hours;
- Grapes picked in October;
This results in slow ripening, slow sugar accumulation, acidity preservation, and the development of medium intensity fruit characters. All this combined make England and Wales highly suitable for Traditional Method sparkling wine.
What is the climate of England and Wales?
What is the average growing season temperature in England and Wales?
Why is frost damage increasing in the vineyards of England and Wales?
Frost damage due to climate change
- vines budding earlier due to warmer springs;
- early budding varieties are increasingly being planted, putting them at risk.
What is the biggest threat to harvest yields in England and Wales?
- Maritime climate means rain is spread throughout the year, including the growing season;
- Rain + cool temps in June and July can affect flowering and fruit set, decreasing yields;
- October rain can dilute/threaten quality.
How do winemakers in England and Wales prepare for excess rainfall?
Lots of vineyard management, especially spraying for fungal diseases.
What are four factors that go into selecting a vineyard site in England and Wales?
- South-facing slopes to maximize sun exposure;
- Protection from southwesterly winds;
- Good drainage, whether it’s naturally free-draining or drainage is installed;
- Low elevation (below 125m asl).
What are the two predominant soils in England?
Chalk soils in England:
- In which areas is this soil found?
- What features is this soil known for?
- What do this soils add to a wine?
- Are they usually found higher or lower elevations?
- Sussex and Hampshire;
- Good drainage, low fertility;
- Add more finesse, high acidity, and a leaner body;
- Usually on higher elevations.
Clay soils in England:
- In which areas is this soil found?
- What features is it known for?
- What do these soils add to a wine?
- Kent and parts of Sussex;
- Better water retention and higher fertility;
- Adds richness and more fruit with lower acidity.
New vineyards in England and Wales are planted to what density?
What does this planting density do for the plants?
Medium density, 4000-5000 vines/ha
- increases root competition for water and nutrients;
- contains canopy vigor.
What is the most common trellising system used in England and Wales?
What benefits does this provide the vine?
- retains heat in the fruit zone;
- canopies are easily thinned in order to:
- increase air flow;
- decrease disease pressure;
- allow more light to reach the buds/fruit;
- allow sprays to reach all leaves.
Is there a lot of vintage variation in England and Wales?
Yields and quality vary due to:
- marginal climate;
- early-budding Chardonnay and Pinot Noir which are at risk for frost damage;
These variables keep prices for sparkling wine at premium and super-premium prices.
What is the average yield for PDO English sparkling wine (vs. Champagne)?
What is the maximum yield allowed for PDO England sparkling wine?
- PDO English sparkling wine averages 24hl/ha while Champagne averages 66hl/ha;
- Maximum yield for PDO English sparkling wine is 80hl/ha.
What are the six grape varieties permitted in sparkling wines made in England and Wales?
- Pinot Noir
- Pinot Noir Précoce
- Pinot Blanc
- Pinot Gris
What is the PDO for sparkling wine in England and Wales?
PDO English Sparkling Wine
PDO English Sparkling Wine must be made using _____ Method.
Sparkling wines made in England and Wales are predominantly Non-vintage or Vintage?
What is the minimum sur lie aging for PDO English Sparkling Wine?
Most sparkling wines in England and Wales:
- go through MLF
- don’t go through MLF
Go through MLF to reduce the high acidity accumulated due to the cool climate.
There is also an increase in use of reserve wines and NV bottlings.
What style are most English and Welsh sparkling wines?
How much of their annual production is exported annually?
- 8% exported.
What is the industry body that oversees regulation, marketing, and education of sparkling wine in England and Wales?
One of the major challenges facing sparkling wine producers in England and Wales year in and year out is yield fluctuation due to frost, rain, or rot.
How is it becoming easier, then, for most producers to have consistent stock?
Most producers now have several years of reserve base wines which helps them pivot in both poor years and good years.