East Anglia’s sparkling wine ‘can vie with best in world’ say grape growers

Giffords Hall's sparkling wine Picture: GIFFORDS HALL

Giffords Hall's sparkling wine Picture: GIFFORDS HALL - Credit: Archant

Wines of the region can vie with the best in the world, Suffolk vineyard owners said as a report into England’s vine growing potential was released.

Linda Howard, joint owner of Giffords Hall in her vineyard Picture: GREGG BROWN

Linda Howard, joint owner of Giffords Hall in her vineyard Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

Guy Howard, a director at Wines of Great Britain (WineGB), a new national organisation for grape growers and winemakers, said sparkling wine makers in East Anglia could ‘look eye to eye with the best’.

The proof was in Champagne producers such as Tattinger and Pol Roger now planting or contracting in select parts of East Anglia, Kent and Sussex, he said.

“On a note of caution, our yields are still too low, although a combination of good husbandry. climate change and intelligent clonal selection will ensure that the classic champagne varieties can approach (but are unlikely to exceed) the yields achieved on Champagne. This means that we will probably still be producing a slightly more expensive product than many would like,” he said.

His remarks follow publication of a report on the potential for parts of England and Wales for winegrowing by University of East Anglia (UEA) researchers which found Suffolk and Essex among the best possible areas for it.

Guy and wife Linda own Giffords Hall, at Hartest, Bury St Edmunds, one of the larger vineyards in Suffolk first planted 30 years ago, and grow seven grape varieties.

Ian Evans, Copdock Hall Vineyard near Ipswich, said: “I’m pleased to read the university thinks our region has the best land for grape growing in the country - our members at East Anglian Vineyards Association (EAVA) have known this for some time. Not only is the soil good but the climate is great too with East Anglia also being one of the driest regions in the country. “Maybe it’s just me, but I also think we have one of the sunniest. Lots of grape varieties do well here, especially Bacchus, and after the summer we’ve just had, things are looking good for this year. I’ll be raising a glass to the UEA, cheers to them.”