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UK Indian Summer and frost in Champagne spells success for English wines

Published:  16 September, 2016

Winemakers at Naked Wines are predicting a top vintage for English Sparkling wine thanks to a September heat wave and low rainfall.

The crowd-funded wine business is predicting a stand out 2016 vintage citing "perfect" weather conditions.

The company said September's record-breaking hot weather will be balanced by English vines' chalk soils, which have a two-year reserve of water to draw on - and are reporting that the grape crop will be the ripest, most concentrated and highest quality for decades.

This is in contrast to France, which has had a particularly difficult 2016.

A warm spring left French vine buds vulnerable to attack when hail and frost covered Northern France in early May, affecting Champagne, Chablis and Sancerre.

As a result, Naked Wines are predicting 2016 could be the year that English wine edges ahead of Champagne in the quality stakes.

"For the first time in English winemaking history, weather conditions have favoured English winemaking more than our French neighbours," Eamon Fitzgerald, MD of Naked Wines UK, said.

"We believe the brilliant 2016 vintage and weaker sterling mean there's never been a better time than to pile in to our own produce."

Winemaking is one of the UK's fastest growing industries.

Over the past five years, sales of sparkling wines have risen by 80% in the UK (UHY Hacker Young).

Naked Wines recently launched two new English winemakers; Charles and Ruth Simpson and ex-city banker Ian Kellett.

Kellett's wines are his Old Winchester Hill Blanc de Blanc NV and Old Winchester Hill Oeil de Pedrix NV.

"Should the weather keep this up it looks likely to be one of the best vintages of the last 100 years in England - this would most certainly overtake many regions of France in quality and quantity," Kellett added.

"It's an exciting time to be part of English Wine and I'm looking forward to tasting the results of a brilliant British summer."