Will this be English wine’s best ever year?

The Queen’s new vineyard in Windsor Great Park is not the only moving relationship the royal family has with English wine. And there. (Not British wine, note. British wine is made from fermented imported concentrate and your grandma may have kept a bottle under the sink in case of blockages. The designation English wine means the grapes have been grown and the wine made in England – and, in a few instances, in Wales.) The new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge must also feel affectionate about English wine. The Aston Martin – borrowed from Prince Charles – they used to drive away in after their extravagant nuptials has been converted so that it can run on fuel made from English wine.

Doubtless, these regal connections will be used by the English wine industry to publicise its products, and good luck to it. However, as the French know so well, nothing manures vines like a sprinkling of bullshit and so with the other news about our native plonk being much bandied about lately, a more sober assessment is timely. The current hype, is to do with the weather. It has been so clement of late it seems likely that if it holds (a big if), English producers will better their record 4m-bottle output of 2010. The warm weather encourages an early bud break and with lots of sunshine the berries will grow thicker skins and the fruit this protects will be richer and more complex. Thus the raw material for English wine will be improved.

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