English Wine Week is annually celebrated from the third Saturday in June. This year, it takes place from June 15 to 23. It celebrates English wines and promotes homegrown wines across the U.K. During this week, some of the best vineyards in the U.K. welcome the public for tours and tastings, while local restaurants make it a point to pair rich English wines with delicious food.
History of English Wine Week
When we think of wine, the legendary vineyards in France and Spain usually come to mind. So, it may be surprising for you to know that the English make some pretty excellent wine. But it wasn’t always this way.
Wine-producing as a commercial endeavor was once considered impossible in the country. In 1920, England’s last commercial vineyard shut down for good. As a result, the English had to rely on the expertise of winemakers in neighboring France and Spain. The situation remained stagnant until after World War II when vineyards cropped up again in southern England.
However, England’s climate wasn’t conducive to growing most grapes. It was relatively cold and rained a lot — not the best weather for growing popular grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. But the fact didn’t stop English winemakers, who turned to grape varieties like Ortega, Sevval Blanc, and Bacchus.
Similarly, winemakers also realized that England’s cool weather and powdery soil were similar to the terrain in France’s Champagne region, creating the ideal conditions for growing white grape varieties. As a result, they started the production of sparkling wine, which won the Sommelier Wine Awards in 2018. The recognition is a testament to the evolution of wine-making history and heritage in the U.K.
Today, the English wine industry is a thriving sector growing every year — and the demand for homegrown English vintages has never been higher.
English Wine Week timeline
A drink made from rice, fermented grapes, and honey becomes popular in ancient China.
Christopher Merret, an English scientist, presents a paper on producing sparkling wine at the Royal Society.
The 2018 vintage becomes the best harvest year for sparkling wine.
English vineyard owners plant more than 1.4 million grape vines.
English Wine Week FAQs
What is the purpose of English Wine Week?
English Wine Week is a national campaign and holiday that shines a spotlight on excellent English wines and vineyards.
What is the wine person at a restaurant called?
A sommelier or wine steward is a hospitality professional with extensive knowledge of wine. Sommeliers work at fine dining establishments. They help diners select the best wine for a meal or occasion.
Which is the best red wine in the U.K.?
The British specialize in making elegant sparkling wines that could give Champagne a run for its money. The Sharpham Pinot Noir 2019 is one of the best red wines made in the U.K.
English Wine Week Activities
Visit a winery
If you love to try different kinds of wines, visit wineries famous for their vintages on the holiday. Take a few days off and drive to wineries in Kent, Sussex, or Essex.
Try some English bubbly
Forgo French Champagne for some of England’s finest sparkling wine. You may even find yourself going through a bottle or two — it’s that delicious.
Host a wine and cheese party
Bring the celebrations home. Call some friends over for a wine and cheese night featuring the best U.K. wines.
5 Facts About Prosecco That Will Blow Your Mind
Prosecco over Champagne
Prosecco sales in the U.K. exceed that of French Champagne.
It is a lifestyle
The Italian sparkling wine is so popular in the U.K. that there’s a festival dedicated to it.
Millennials love it
Surveys show that 97% of Millennials in Britain are totally into the Italian fizz.
The entire country is a fan
The English consumed more than a third of the 411 million bottles of Prosecco produced in 2016.
Top tipples in the U.K.
Some of the most popular cocktails in the U.K. are prosecco-based: Bellini, Aperol Spritz, and Prosecco Royale.
Why We Love English Wine Week
It shines a spotlight on English wines
English Wine Week promotes exceptional wines made by over 700 vineyards in the U.K. It highlights sharp reds, bubbly fizzes, and full-bodied whites we’ve never tasted before, giving English winemakers their chance to shine.
It promotes vineyard tours
A whole week of vineyard touring and sampling some of the U.K.’s finest bubbly fizzes? Sign us up already!
It leads to wine events
Numerous wine events spring up across the country during English Wine Week. This is a dream come true for wine lovers.
English Wine Week dates