The history of Viticulture in the wine country of the UK goes back a long way and was founded by the Romans. Viticulture was also practiced on the island in the Middle Ages, a practice that was subsequently forgotten and was only rediscovered in the second half of the 20th century. British viticulture has experienced a significant upswing, especially in recent years.
The United Kingdom has been known as one of the major wine consuming countries. However, in recent years the production of wines, especially sparkling wines, has been growing rapidly and today UK wine country produces high-quality, award-winning wines. The wine country of the UK is known for its rainy and humid climate. However, the southern part of the country, where the climate is much warmer, favors viticultural and winemaking activities. In the eastern part, grapes benefit from the effect of the warm Gulf Stream that carries warm waters across the Atlantic Ocean.
Wine Tourism in the United Kingdom
Explore the vineyards of the UK, that offers something different and authentic. There are around 400 wineries across different British wine regions and most of them offer different wine tourism experiences, started with wine tastings, finished with authentic on-site accommodation. Discover British wine regions with us to find out more about blossoming wine-production areas across the country.
Sparkling wines account for 72% of the total wine production of England.
With 1400 hours of sunshine, the climatic conditions are similar to those in Champagne. It is therefore not surprising that the classic Champagne trio of grape varieties, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir, are thriving in England. These grape varieties in total represent more than 60% of the vines planted in England. The ambitious goal here is to produce sparkling wines with the classic method.
The white wines from British wine regions are usually very light and lively with a floral bouquet. For some years now, sparkling wines have been made on the island with great success. Some of these fine, sparkling drops even competed with the big champagnes in blind tastings.
Wine Regions of UK
The majority of British wine regions are located in the south, southeast, and southwest of the country, where the climate is drier and warmer comparing the rest of the country, which is famous for its rainy days and humidity.
Wine-producing areas are mainly allocated in popular British wine regions such as Surrey, Sussex, and Kent in the southeast part of the country. The southwest part of the country combines wine regions such as Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hereford, and Worcestershire.
There are still small growing areas in Suffolk and Norfolk in East Anglia, in the northeast of the capital London, as well as in the Midlands area. The vines from the cultivation areas near the coast are particularly good due to the Gulf Stream, the climate there is significantly milder and drier.
Hampshire is located in the central-southern part of wine country of UK and is one of the first British wine regions that started commercial wine production.
The Hampshire wine region boasts the landscapes of rolling hills of South Downs and the terroir, similar to one in the Champagne region, that produces mineral refreshing wines. The Region is famous for its award-winning sparkling wines produced with the traditional method from the grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.
The English owe their wine to the persistence of a single man. It was Sir Guy Salisbury-Jones who, contrary to all expectations, managed to grow vines on a larger scale. That was in 1952, in the English county of Hampshire. He succeeded in producing wine from the local vineyards that amazed even French wine connoisseurs and that means a lot. One year later, the “Masters of Wine” company was founded, which is still the highest level that wine professionals can reach concerning their knowledge about wine.
Suffolk Wine Region
Just outside London, the Suffolk wine region is home to small wine producers. The production takes place around the town of Bury St. Edmunds. The major grape grown here is Bacchus, which takes its name from the Roman god of wine. However, Bacchus is still the young grape variety that was released for general cultivation in 1972. Besides Bacchus, newer vine growers also experiment with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Discover vineyards around London by visiting the Suffolk wine region. We prepared the list of Wine Tastings and Tours in Suffolk so, you can fully enjoy your visit to the region.
The historic wine region Sussex is located in a cool-climate area located in the southeast of the UK. With over 50 wineries, Sussex is the largest wine producer of the UK wine country, producing around a quarter of the total wine.
Sussex is the home to the leading wineries of UK, and it is regarded as the heart of the wine production of the country. Besides wines, the region offers a diversity of landscapes, charming countryside, and dramatic rocky coast.