English wine sales sparkle for Christmas

Sales of English wine have more than doubled in the run-up to Christmas this year, Waitrose says.

English sparkling wines will give Champagne a run for its money during the Christmas period, Waitrose said. English wine sales at the supermarket have so far risen 120 per cent compared to last year’s festive season.

The announcement is another signal that English vineyards are emerging from the shadow cast over the Channel by their French neighbours.

“It certainly looks as though many of our customers will be toasting Christmas with a glass of English Fizz,” said Justin Howard-Sneyd MW, English wine specialist at Waitrose.

The retailer said its buying team now takes English wine “as seriously as any European or New World wine”, and it plans to increase its range in 2008.

It added that English wines outsold French claret on Waitrose.com last month.

Several award-winning sparkling whites have performed particularly well, including: Nyetimber Premiere Cuvée, £23.99, Ridgeview Cuvée Merret Bloomsbury, £18.99, Ridgeview Merret Fitzrovia Rosé , £19.99, and Denbies Greenfields Sparkling Cuvée, £19.99.

All of which use Champagne grapes - Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.