In the news recently it is no surprise to me to learn that English vineyards produced a bumper 15.6 million bottles of wine in 2018.
The warm weather last summer was bound to see better harvests with riper grapes and so more bottles would be expected.
What has surprised me is just how rapidly recent wine production has grown from 6.3 million bottles in 2000 and 5.9 million in 2017 (small variations like this will always occur due to weather variations) – but to triple in one year is exceptional and may also be in part due to new vineyards coming on stream as it takes a number of years before new vines are fully productive.
These figures from Wine GB bear testament to the courage of those who have had the faith to invest in what is rapidly becoming a serious contributor to British agriculture, as well as tourism.
So raise a glass of English Sparkling Wine and prepare for English Wine Week (May 25 to June 2). Check out your local wine merchant or supermarket, there are plenty of examples available.
Elsewhere in the news, a widely reported story regarding the old saying “Beer before wine and you’ll feel fine, wine before beer and you’ll feel queer”.
I must admit I’d never heard this one but had heard the old one about never mixing grape and grain. Not something I’ve ever suffered from when mixing these two (when wine tasting a good hoppy beer can cleanse the palate).
If there’s an old saying there’s a scientific team waiting to investigate and settle the argument once and for all (perhaps).
A study conducted in Germany jointly by Witten/Herdecke University and Cambridge concluded that the order you drink them doesn’t really matter.
Hangovers are generally caused by drinking too much, and worse if it’s too much of the poor-quality stuff.
So the conclusion, mix it by all means, but in moderation.
It’s three years since I last visited the Douro Valley in northern Portugal. This stunning wine region famous for Port Wine is a must-see for any wine aficionado.
Tour by riverboat or train for the best experience.
An article caught my eye about the Quinta da Pacheca estate where you can stay inside a wine barrel.
Strike out of your mind that ‘Go-for-broke’ image of the small barrel held up by a pair of braces, these giant 270 square foot barrels are the lap of luxury with private bathroom and shower, round bed, Wi-Fi, aircon and a skylight so you can gaze at the ultra-clear star-filled Douro skies.
The hotel hosts wine tastings and has an excellent restaurant. It’s not cheap, but that’s no surprise, at £219 per night though I don’t think the price is excessive for the type of experience either.
We’ve been port tasting at The Lancashire Wine School and a hearty recommendation for The (Wine) Society’s Exhibition 1985
Vintage Port. Smooth and silky, spicy and intensely fruity this luxury treat comes in at £54, but well worth it (even if you have to share it with friends).