In these austere times, with more of us than ever choosing to stay in and share a bottle of wine rather than venture out, wine sales on the whole are booming, especially for English wines. These small wineries are certainly holding their own in a fiercely competitive market, with many awards coming their way and even receiving a nod of recognition from our neighbours across the channel.
Confusing labels are nothing new, but in the wine industry they are causing a lot of headaches for those who own the small, independent wineries. The problem arises from the origin stated on the labels. There are wines out there labelled British but in fact they are made from a cheap concentrate shipped over from the continent which are then bottled and sold over here, the retail price has set sales soaring, to the detriment of English producers.
Those who produce wines from scratch in England are rightly worried that the whole British/English thing will have consumers thinking they are doing the right thing by supporting wine from this country, but as far as the former is concerned this is simply not the case. Even though the English wineries are enjoying healthy sales, the British wines are selling even more as they are produced so cheaply they hit the shelves for a price as little as £3 a bottle.
This is incredibly cheap for a bottle of wine these days, but sadly it is clear in the quality why it is selling for this. Price is winning out over quality and if you want to be patriotic in your choice of wine then you will have to pay a bit more. Look for English on the label and recognised produces such as Three Mills, Silver Bay Point, Camel Valley et al. You may pay a pound or so more but your palate will thank you for it.