The French can scoff all they like, but the numbers don't lie – English wine is going from strength to strength.
Annual sales figures from the UK's largest independent wine merchant, Bibendum Wine Ltd, show that 25 per cent more English wine than last year is being consumed in bars and restaurants. For English sparkling wine, the figures are even more impressive – a 55 per cent increase on last year's on-trade sales, contributing to an overall 59 per cent increase in the value of English wine to Bibendum.
The boom in sales has been attributed in part to an apparent surge in patriotic feeling during the summer, coinciding with the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, with revellers keen to toast the best of British with home-grown bubbly.
The increased popularity of English wine is timely for domestic growers who suffered from a poor harvest following this summer's unusually wet weather.