English sparkling wine …… a bit of a mouthful to ask for in your local supermarket when if you want something French, Italian or Spanish all you have to ask for is Champagne, Prosecco or Cava! Time for some serious marketing and changes of regulations but WHAT should we call English Sparkling Wine? I ask the same question in my upcoming book, It’s Not About The Wine, to be published in time for Christmas.
One vineyard however has already suggested a name for England’s very high quality sparkling wines, most of which now not only rival champagnes but actually beat them in international wine tasting competitions! Here it is:
English Sparkling Wine is really bubbling at the moment (Because of Brexit? Sorry BBC couldn’t resist being positive!) Brilliant wines being produced in Sussex, Kent, Hampshire, Gloucestershire and more. Nyetimber, Chapel Down, Three Choirs, Poulton Hill to name only a few. But I have a problem …. “English Sparkling Wine”, too many words! Think Champagne or Cremant, or Prosecco, or Cava, for France, Italy and Spain. Browse the shelves of any supermarket wine section and Champagne, or Prosecco, or Cava hit you right between the eyes! There ain’t no French Sparkling Wine or Italian Sparkling Wine labels cowering in a line, they are absolutely SHOUTING “buy me now” at us in big bold letters. Meanwhile, little old english sparkling wine from sussex is on a bottom shelf somewhere or in a Rest of Europe section.
I believe this is a big issue but nobody seems to be raising it, although English Wine Producers have taken a small step and “protected” the status of English and Welsh wines with PDO and PGI status:
“Protected geographical status has just been introduced for English and Welsh wines. Look for UK still and sparkling wines that are labelled with “Protected Designation of Origin” or “Protected Geographic Indication” – they will have passed certain taste and analytical parameters under wine schemes sponsored by the UKVA, The producers must also prove the geographical origins of the grapes – PDO wines comply with more stringent rules on the origin of their grapes than PGI wines.”
Also Andrew Jefford has written about this also with his article “Brexit and GIs: Ignore protected names at your peril” and is absolutely correct in focusing on the central issue of “truth telling”. If I buy a bottle of Chablis I need to be 100% certain that it’s made from Chardonnay and is from Chablis itself.
But it’s also about branding and marketing, Champagne and Prosecco are basically getting a free ride on our supermarket shelves, we surely need a brand name, a collective name for our English Sparkling Wine!
One suggestion comes from the Poulton Hill Estate vineyard in Gloucestershire with the Latin word BULARI meaning ….. bubbles!
A new name for quality English sparkling wine
“Poulton Hill Estate has trademark registered ‘Bulari’ (a variation of the Latin for bubbles) as a generic term to describe English sparkling wine. English sparkling wine producers have been searching for a catchy name to signify prestige and reflect ever-increasing quality for years now. The use of the Latin term Bulari reflects the fact that vines for wine-making were first introduced to Britain by the Romans.”
So imagine Nyetimber, Chapeldown, Poulton Hill with a protected status of their Bulari, our wine industry needs to get behind such a protected brand, even if they don’t like that particular suggestion. Time to really fly the flag!