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United Kingdom

England maybe is not the traditional wine country but the last decade has become increasingly popular with its outstanding sparkling wines made accordingly to the traditional method.

England, it may not seem but is one of the oldest wine-producing countries in the world since Roman times and documented in a document from 731 and later in 1152 King Henry II (1133-1189) came into possession of Gascony and large parts of western France, including Bordeaux by marriage to Eleonora of Aquitaine where a long and successful relationship has been established between Bordeaux and England.

As everybody knows the English weather is not so favourable and sunny, that's why most of the vineyards are located in the south part of the country where the climate is slightly warmer and drier. The English climate is tempered by the Gulf Stream, a major Atlantic Ocean current that carries warm water from the Caribbean to the southern coasts of England and Wales. Also, the global warming has helped the English wine industry and winegrowers to overcome the difficult grape ripening process which has become much easier, but still, most of the grapes planted are early ripening and suitable for cool climate. Because of all these factors, the enrichment of the grape must with sugar was a common practice in England, but since the 1980s the sugar levels are gone up, and that is not a necessity any more.

There are around 20 wine-growing areas in the United Kingdom, but the most prominent and important are Sussex, Kent and Surrey, and all of them are related and famous for the sparkling wine production. There are major champagne houses investing in the south of the country seeing England as one of the future fizz producing nations.

The white wine grape varieties are dominating the plantings as the most used ones are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier for the production of the sparkling wine as well as the hybrid grapes Bacchus, Seyval Blanc, Ortega, Reichensteiner, Madeleine Angevine and Müller-Thurgau. Overall the country is experiencing a renaissance in the wine-growing and production and is starting to rival other well-established sparkling producing areas such as Champagne, Cava and Prosecco.

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