Delis and farm shops are target for emerging English still wines
English wine-makers are looking to boost their presence in farm shops and delis – particularly for still wines – as the reputation of the industry and the quality of its wines continue to rise.
“There is definitely scope to develop this market further, especially where farm shops are close to those regional producers,” English Wine Producers marketing director Julia Trustram Eve told FFD. “There is also a real opportunity to get some great interaction between farm shops and vineyards themselves.”
Currently only a third of the wine produced in the UK is still. Larger commercial producers tend to concentrate on sparkling products, which have performed well in international competitions. But Trustram Eve said there was an opportunity for smaller and local producers, many of whom concentrate on still wine, to tap into the rising popularity of English sparkling.
Still wines did well at last week’s English & Welsh Wine of the Year Competition, announced on June 29, which is organised by the UK Vineyard Association.
Some 327 wines from more than 90 English and Welsh producers were entered, with 284 winning medals – with still wines scooping more than half the gold awards and 9 out of the 13 trophies for specific wine styles.
This was due in part to last year’s record breaking harvest, Trustram Eve said, which had helped push total production up 42% to around 6.3m bottles.
“2014 was a great vintage and it is showing its colours really well. It was also a very big vintage, so there were a lot of still wine produced,” she said.
She added that it was good to see English favourite Bacchus – the grape behind 5 out of the 13 trophies – showing strongly. “It is the most widely planted grape for still wine and is becoming established as a signature grape,” she said.
Although the signs for the 2015 harvest are looking good, Trustram Eve said it was too early in the season to really tell.
“Flowering has just started, so the fantastic weather at the moment is helping at a critical time of year. The vines are also in a healthy condition after several good growing seasons in a row, so at this stage, it is looking good.”