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Local Flavours

Discover English and Welsh wines

Shop English & Welsh wines
An idyllic vine and an awards rosette
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.

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The Big Five



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. Owner and chief executive Eric Heerema has invested significant in Nyetimber and with Cherie Spriggs at the winemaking helm, Nyetimber have won many medals and top accolades.

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Produces high quality sparkling wine using classic Champagne grape varieties

Ridgeview is a family business founded in 1994 by the late Mike Roberts and his wife Chris. 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’s family maintains – 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.

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.

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Chapel Down Flint Dry
12.00% ABV . 75cl
Rated four and a half stars


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.

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.

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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.

Did you know? That Waitrose owns its own vineyard, down in sunny Hampshire, just outside the New Forrest lies Leckford Estate. Leckford produced it first award-winning fizz in 2013 and has become an instant hit with customers and critics alike.