WineGB has unveiled a new strategy to “champion the national brand” with Classic Method Sparkling Wine earmarked as the hero style, accompaned by a new Hallmark to support wines that have achieved the highest level PDO status.

The trade body worked with Sarah Abbott MW and Swirl Wine Group to establish Classic Method as the “authentic expression of English and Welsh sparkling wine”, using the new term to refer to wines produced using the traditional method in England and Wales.

The Great British Classic Method programme comprises WineGB’s first integrated sampling campaign for press, virtual masterclasses, social media content, and the introduction of a Classic Method Hallmark to designate PDO English and Welsh Sparkling wines made by the classic method.

Abbott said: “England and Wales is emerging as a really thrilling sector with dynamic producers and great terroir, and a really fine wine region. We were looking to really differentiate the classic sparkling wines of England and Wales.

“The stylistic diversity of the wines of Great Britain is thrilling and we need a highly diversified category. WineGB embraces the full diversity of styles but this project is about differentiating the classic style; there is absolutely emerging a Great British sparkling style and we really want to embrace that. We don’t want to go to market saying we are nearly as good as Champagne, we are ourselves and we have a terroir which gives a distinctly British style.”

The group has worked to “positively differentiate” sparkling wines made by the Classic Method from those made by processes such as Charmat, Pet Nat and aeration.

It said: “We will use the halo from Classic Method Sparkling as a way to highlight the growing diversity and increasingly varied positioning of all wine styles produced from Great Britain.”

WineGB’s Chairman, Simon Robinson, said: “We have long recognised the need to positively differentiate and protect our flagship category – wines produced from the classic method.

“This is the hero style that has put Great Britain on the wine map and led us to more extraordinary exciting developments in our industry. We now boast a broad range of diverse and high-quality wines in all styles.

“Our sparkling wines however remain at the forefront of our industry and are driving sales both here and overseas. This campaign has set us on the path to ensure that our classic method wines are more positively recognised among the finest wine regions of the world.”

An initial “first tranche” group of 30 producers will create a case of wine that is aimed at expressing the full diversity of the classic style and this will be sent to wine press.

WineGB said the group represents a wide range of wine regions within England and Wales as well as all sizes of producer, with names including Ridgeview Wine Estate, Gusbourne Estate, Hush Heath Estate, Hattingley Valley Wines, and smaller producers such as Squerryes Wine Estate, Digbys Fine English and Simpsons Wine Estate.

The Busi-Jacobsohn Wine Estate on Blackdon Farm in East Sussex is one of the first producers to add the new Hallmark to its labelling, for wines which will be released in December this year.