British wines can fill the demand for cheap, entry- level products and stop hard-up consumers abandoning the category, according to Broadland Wineries.

The company’s core Three Mills range sells for £3-£3.50 and it reported a surge in demand for these wines among shoppers still struggling financially.

Wine director Arabella Woodrow MW told OLN: “With the credit crunch people have been looking at ways not to give up wine but to save a bit of money, and at entry level they can do so with British-made wine.

“We have seen a big increase in our business because we are making Three Mills a much more serious competitor to entry- level cheap wine that has been imported.”

Most of the supermarkets list an entry-level British-made wine priced under £3.

Though the category accounts for only 1% of the UK wine market, it is growing well ahead of wine as a whole, according to Nielsen, with volumes up 12% in the year to April 26 compared to a total wine market down 3%.

Broadlands managing director Mark Lansley added: “If you look at the population of consumers, 27-odd million people drink wine at least once a month. Certain segments of those are looking for products that are fairly easy drinking, not high alcohol, and don’t want to pay too much for it. Three Mills fits the bill quite nicely with its core range at £3-£3.50.”

Broadlands has just launched a range of varietal British-made wines under its Three Mills brand.

It comprises an off-dry Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Grigio Blush and Merlot Rosé, which are all at 10% abv and retail at £4.49.

Woodrow, former wine development manager at Morrisons, said: “Traditionally the British wine market has been making very sweet wines, and

I have tried to make ours taste more like wine you might want to have with a meal.”

British-made wine is created from grape concentrate imported into the UK, reconstituted with water and fermented to produce the required wine style.

Some critics hesitate to call it wine. In the Oxford Companion to Wine, Jancis Robinson MW refers to it as “a curious alcoholic drink made in the image of wine”.

Continental Wine & Food has also expanded its British- made range, with a 13% abv Rich Ruby variant (rrp £4.29 for 70cl) joining its fortified Old Westminster range.