Ambriel Sparkling Wine was flowing at the Ambassador’s reception at the British Embassy in Helsinki before ‘Gastro Helsinki’ – Finland’s most delicious trade fair. While the Ambassador gamely spoke in Finnish Charles Outhwaite stuck to English while enthusing about the joys of English Sparkling wine. In his interview with Finland’s premier Wine magazine Viinilehti Charles explained how in our green and pleasant land the cool climate preserves the freshness of the grapes while the long slow ripening allows intense flavours and aromas to develop. The characteristics that make English Sparkling Wines so special are the structure from the acidity, the abundant fruitfulness and the potential for ageing. This is all thanks to the goldilocks climate – not too hot, not too cold, just right for Sparkling.
The English wine industry is having a bit of a moment right now. It has expanded dramatically over the last couple of decades and there are now 6,200 acres under vine (2,500 hectares) with 1 million vines having been planted in 2017 and a further 1.7 million vines being planted in 2018. That’s a lot of vines. As well as English vignerons, two champagne houses – Tattinger and Pommery – have already invested in English vineyards. Most plant Pinot Noir vines and 68% of all wine produced in England now is Sparkling Wine. This is good news: supply is increasing to meet demand. The 5.9 million bottles of English Sparkling Wine made in 2017 let the fizzerati sip their way through a 31% increase in sales. We have plenty to share so we’re sending some outside of the UK.
We are confident that Finns will love English Sparkling wine almost as much as we do. Could Finland become Fizzland?