English wine has undergone something of a slow creep, rather than a meteoric rise over the last decade. Once laughingly referred to as Pea-pod Burgundy, made by Tom Good in the Good Life (check it out on YouTube kids!), today’s British winemakers are quietly scooping International awards for their wines, in the face of established wine “brands” with, often, centuries of winemaking history.
Whilst there is good evidence to suggest that viniculture was active in Roman Britain, we are only now beginning to take British Wines seriously and so are the growers. Since the beginning of 2000, acreage planted to vines has almost tripled with over a million vines being planted in 2017 and 2018 and the acreage increasing to above 6700 acres with over 500 vineyards.
Although the majority are typically situated in the south of England, there are award winning vineyards as far north as North Yorkshire and as far west as Wales and Cornwall.
Here at The Green House, we love having Dorset grown and made wines on our list and we are proud to trumpet the successes of the growers. For instance, Andrew and Sarah Pharoah planted vines in Lychett Matravers (12 miles from The Green House) in 2007 giving birth to English Oak Vineyard. By 2019, they had scooped multiple Decanter Silver awards for their Sparkling wines, topped off by a IWSC Gold medal in 2021 for their Engleman Cuvee, which sits proudly on our list.
Not only are they great wine makers, but they hold themselves to the very highest standards of sustainability, both in their viniculture and in all their winemaking processes, ensuring the smallest carbon footprint possible.
Similarly, Langham Estate, near Dorchester, take a minimal interventionist stance, with the winery just a handful of yards from the vineyard. All of their sparkling wines scooped awards at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2022, but we have decided to stock one of their still wines – the very lovely Dorset Rosé, as it shows exceptional balance in its acidity and reminds us of Strawberries and Cream on the palate – mmm delicious!
Vive les vins d’Angleterre!