All that sparkles
Everyone is looking for something fizzy to celebrate with this festive season, and they are willing to branch away from their norm. Enter, Hattingley Valley, an English sparkling wine producer in the heart of Hampshire. English sparkling has seen an insurgence in recent years, the weakening of our currency made champagne imports more expensive and there has also been a drive towards provenance that has filtered from the restaurants to the bars and front of house.
This short animation has been created from an interview with Hattingley Valley Sales and Export Manager, Gareth Maxwell. It tells the story of the rising of English wines where they belong in your drinks list…
Gareth Maxwell, Hattingley Valley Sales and Export Manager
English sparkling wine is a category in growth – why do you believe this is, and what must you do to ensure this continues?
The wine trade has known for a few years that we make great wines in England, but it’s only been in the last two years that there has been more consumer press which has helped us no end. It would be an error to omit the fact that our currency devalued after the referendum, which has made Champagne imports more expensive, and in turn helped us. The drive towards provenance, originally led by the chefs, has spread to the front of house and venues are now actively seeking out an English sparkler for their wine list. The fact that younger people are looking to drink less but better also ties in nicely with our offering, as does the desire to have experiences – our vineyard and winery tours are filling up whenever we increase the availability of them, which is a good sign! The most important thing that we must all do as producers, is to continue to strive for top quality, don’t cut corners, and tighten up our PDO’s to maintain that focus on the premium sector.
What do you believe is English sparkling wine’s place on a drinks list? Where should it sit and position itself?
I think English sparkling wine has a great natural position on a wine list, above Prosecco and ideally replacing a ‘house Champagne’. Having Hattingley by the glass with Prosecco beneath it and a Grand Marque Champagne above it offers three clear styles of wine, which is great for the customer. English wines really need to be BTG to gain any traction, as the consumer is still experimenting, and they will be prepared to pay £8-£10 for a glass but there aren’t many people willing to stump up £50 for a bottle in a restaurant (yet).