Pop: Sparkling wine has fizzed in the last five years as the amount on sale nearly doubles

 
Francesca Washtell
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Wine Producers Set To Increase As The Market For British Wine Flourishes
English sparkling wine sales are a long way off rivalling champagne and prosecco, but are growing rapidly (Source: Getty)

The market for sparkling wine has fizzed over the last five years as the amount on sale in the UK has grown by 80 per cent.


A burst in demand for champagne and cheaper alternatives, such as prosecco, has also driven a boom in English sparkling wine, according to accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young.

The amount of sparkling wine in the market has grown from 17.6m gallons in 2011/12 to an estimated 31.6m gallons in 2015/16, data from HM Revenue and Customs has shown.

The revival of consumer demand for all types of sparkling wine has also coincided with growing recognition of the quality of English wine, both nationally and internationally.


Read more: How Nyetimber put English wines on the map

This has led to a shift in consumer attitudes towards locally produced wines, as more consumers turn to support British businesses.

Earlier this month, a 2010 vintage of Nyetimber Classic Cuvee became the first English sparkling wine to be traded on the international wine exchange Liv-ex.

UHY Hacker Young called the Nyetimber trade a "landmark moment" that demonstrates how rapidly English sparkling wine "is closing the gap between champagne in the luxury market".

"It's amazing how far English wine has come over the last ten years," Giles Cooper, head of marketing at BI Fine Wine told City A.M. "There's just no comparison in quality to what it was like a decade ago. It's transformed."

More and more producers have also come online in recent years, with 37 wine producers and vineyards opening in England last year alone.

"Not only is the growing success of English sparkling wine encouraging more to come to the market but more established names are now looking to expand into new stages of growth," UHY Hacker Young partner James ​Simmonds said.

Read more: Britain is now the "beating heart" of the global wine trade

In July, the Aim-listed, Kent-based producer Gusbourne launched a £10m bond to fund capital expenditure on recently-planted vineyards and other operations.

Simmonds added it is "uncertain" what will happen after Brexit to UK imports of continental favourites such as prosecco and champagne.

"[N]o matter what happens, English sparkling wine is already a viable alternative", Simmonds said.

Although domestic vineyards also make still wines, the cooler climate and soil make-up in the UK favour sparkling wine production.

A previous version of this story stated that sales of English sparkling wine had almost doubled in the last five years, rather than all types of sparkling wine.

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