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East Anglian vineyard becomes UK's first to produce sparkling wine with Italian method

Wine maker Ben Witchell, of Flint Vineyard in Earsham near Bungay. The company has become the UK's first wine maker to sell a sparkling wine made using the Charmat method of production. Picture: Simon Buck Photography

Wine maker Ben Witchell, of Flint Vineyard in Earsham near Bungay. The company has become the UK's first wine maker to sell a sparkling wine made using the Charmat method of production. Picture: Simon Buck Photography

Simon Buck Photography

A vineyard on the Norfolk/Suffolk border has become the first English wine maker to sell a sparkling wine made using an alternative European method.

Flint Vineyard, based in Earsham near Bungay, released its first sparkling wine last week to accompany its award-winning selection of still wines.

The sparkling rosé is made using the Charmat method, commonly used in prosecco production. Named after the Frenchman who patented it, the process involves a second fermentation in a tank rather than a bottle, as happens in the Champagne method used by other English sparkling wine makers.

Ben Witchell, who runs Flint Vineyard with wife Hannah, said their sparkling wine differs from prosecco, with partial ageing in barrels and more exposure to yeast to “achieve more complexity and texture in the final wine”.

Flint’s Charmat rosé is now on sale at the vineyard and at stockists including Harper Wells in Norwich.

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