Sun, Jan 05, 2014 - Page 14 News List

Betting on quality over quantity, UK bubbly set to rise

English sparkling wine makers are seeking to build their brand with high standards to take on industry leaders Spain and France

By Martinne Geller  /  Reuters, LONDON

Even though part of this comes from the cool weather that gives the grapes high acidity, it is also down to the traditional production method, in which second fermentation takes place inside each bottle, rather than in bulk tanks.

“It’s in our interest to make sure that anyone involved in the industry and the production of this premium wine is going to keep to those levels of quality, for the sake of our own reputation,” she said.

Digby Fine English, one of the newest English winemakers, is sticking to that strategy. Its first vintage, 2009, has just gone on sale at upmarket outlets such as Selfridges department store and Michelin-starred restaurants.

Trevor Clough, Digby’s corporate strategist-turned-CEO, said that the industry’s small size helps to support its premium price as it slowly but surely builds its reputation.

“We’re not really at the point where we want everyone to know and everyone to want to buy English wine all the time,” Clough said. “It’s all about focusing on early adopters and cultivating their enthusiasm.”

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