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Find your local vineyard on Waitrose Cellar

Local flavours

Discover more about English and Welsh wines
Local Flavours on Waitrose Cellar. Discover the best of English wine
Becky Hull MW - Wine Buyer, English and Welsh wines

Discover a new local flavour

English wine producers are the most enthusiastic and passionate people, making aromatic whites with real purity of flavour; pretty roses with heaps of scented berry-fruit character; mellow plummy reds; and of course a raft of medal-winning, superlative fizz. If you haven't been bitten by the UK wine bug, then now is the time to throw your inhibitions to the wind and give home grown a try.

Becky Hull MW
Wine Buyer, English and Welsh wines

The history of English wine

For the love of wine

Ever since the Romans first landed on our shores, Britons have been in a long and dedicated relationship with the nectar they brought with them – wine. The longest vine in the world resides at Hampton Court Palace, planted from a cutting taken in Essex by Capability Brown in 1769. It’s still there to see in all its glory if you visit today.

An interesting dinner party fact is that there's evidence to suggest that Britons ‘invented’ the drink we now know as champagne. In 1662 the Brit Christopher Merret presented a paper to the Royal Society in London that documented the process of making traditional method sparkling wines - 30 years before the technique was discovered in Champagne.

So there's no denying that Britain has a long history with winemaking, but the industry has only come to fruition in the past decade. Many will argue that this is due to the implications of the contentious subject of global warming and its effect on English vine growth. It’s certainly true that average temperatures have been rising, and look set to continue to do so over the next couple of decades at least. This has led to a flurry of investment as our climate becomes more suitable for grape growing, with a new high of 448 commercial vineyards being recorded in the UK in 2013.

Local Producers

Local producers

At Waitrose, we've always been supportive of local producers, and at one point we were selling nearly 70% of all the wine produced in the UK. We even have our own vineyard down on the Waitrose farm at Leckford in Hampshire and with much pride launched the first vintage of Leckford Estate Brut this year.

In sparkling wines local producers are creating some superlative quality wines. There are also some excellent still wines being produced, however, there's still some way to go in developing these in both quality and quantity before we can really make a splash on the international market.

Leckford Estate Brut
Now £29.99

So why sparkling?

Firstly there are the soils, which is where a wine is born. There's a seam of limestone that runs under the channel from the Champagne region in France up to the South Downs to give us a strong foundation. With our marginal climate we need to use grapes or styles of wine that suit early-ripening or less ripe grapes.

This is why you’ll find lots of still wines that use Germanic varieties – they’ve been grown in the cold for decades and the experience of the winemakers who have worked with them is valuable. The reason that sparkling wine works so well here is that the grapes need to be harvested much less ripe than would be required for still wine.



The Big Five

Nyetimber

Nyetimber


Often compared with the wines of the Champagne region

Nyetimber is the most famous UK winery, first recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086. They own all of their vineyards (which is quite unusual in the UK), and they grow only the traditional Champagne varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. In the last ten years under owner and chief executive Eric Heerema there has been significant investment in quality. With Cherie Spriggs at the winemaking helm, Nyetimber have won many medals and top accolades.

This product is on offer
Nyetimber Rosé
Was £45.00
25% Off
Now £33.75
Ridgeview

Ridgeview


Produces high quality sparkling wine using classic Champagne grape varieties

Ridgeview is a family business founded in 1994 by Mike and Chris Roberts. Like Nyetimber, they specialise in classic grape varieties and have had huge success on the international stage with their delicious wines. Waitrose are great fans of the winemaking and dedication to detail that Mike and his family maintain – so much so that we chose Ridgeview to help make our very own Leckford Estate Brut, with grapes grown at the Waitrose estate in Hampshire.

Ridgeview Merret Bloomsbury
Now £24.99
Chapel Down

Chapel Down


A modern vineyard producing smart varietals and fresh wines

Chapel Down is very quality focused and has an inspirational new winemaker, Josh Donaghay-Spire. Josh graduated from Plumpton in East Sussex, so he's a real home-grown talent but has worked in South Africa, Alsace and Champagne. Chapel Down are known for their superb sparkling wine, but they also make some excellent still wines, including a single variety Bacchus - England’s answer to Sauvignon Blanc.

Chapel Down Vintage Reserve Brut NV
Now £20.79
Denbies

Denbies


A premium vineyard nestled in the North Downs

Denbies were one of the first producers to take English winemaking seriously on a commercial scale. They have recently invested a lot of money in state of the art equipment, replanting and cutting edge trials to improve grape quality and flavour intensity. While many English wine producers are channelling all of their enthusiasm towards sparkling wines (which Denbies do well too), they passionately believe that England can also make stunning still wines.

Denbies Greenfields
Now £23.99
Camel Valley

Camel Valley


Creating award winning wines since 1989

At Camel Valley, ex-RAF pilot Bob Lindo and his son Sam make exquisite wines in a beautiful part of Cornwall. They have a huge collection of awards and medals and it's lovely to see that even amongst other producers nearby, who you might expect to be just a little jealous, they command so much affection and respect. It's a huge achievement that a family-run, English vineyard can build such a reputation on the international stage.

Camel Valley Pinot Noir Brut
Now £28.99

Video: England & Wales Regional Wine Guide

National Pride

There are currently 450 commercial vineyards in the UK with over 1500 hectares of vines. The development of the industry has become a source of pride for the nation as local vineyards win award after award, challenging and often surpassing our European and New World counter parts.

Watch Waitrose wine expert Anne Jones explain more about the English and Welsh wine industry.