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Wine Details

Chapel Down Bacchus England 2014
Off dry with grassy green aromas, refreshing acidity on the the finish.

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Chapel Down was the first English producer to win a gold medal for sparkling wine at the International Wine Challenge. Its a rapidly growing business, already producing about 50 per cent of all commercial English wine, but with expansion plans that could increase production five-fold by 2010. Chapel Down’s vision is to see vineyards across the Kent countryside, which would not only make for an attractive landscape but also help to stop farmers going out of business as their land use changes to growing vines. German grapes have been the backbone of its wine - varieties such as Reichensteiner, Bacchus, Muller-Thurgau and Schonburger - but the company is shifting towards the Champagne varieties, like Pinot Noir, as demand for its fizz increases. Currently, about 35 per cent of its wines are sparkling but the company says that is likely to rise signficantly in the future.

Grape varieties



The English weather may be the butt of international jokes, but the island climate, warmed by the Gulf Stream, means that England can grow vines successfully at a latitude of 52 degrees 40’ North, which is more northerly than either Germany or France plant their vineyards. In fact, wine has been made in the UK for well over 1,000 years. But it can be difficult to ripen grapes this far from the equator, which is why vineyards are concentrated in the warmest southern counties of Kent and Sussex and only relatively early-ripening varieties are suitable. The majority of wine is white, with Muller-Thurgau, Reichensteiner, Bacchus and Seyval Blanc being the most popular varieties, while red grapes include Pinot Noir, Dornfelder and Rondo. Bottle-fermented sparkling wines, however, seem to be England’s strongest asset and are competing well in quality terms with Champagne.

England was introduced to vines and wine by the Romans. By the time of the Domesday book ( 11th Century) there were 38 vineyards sited. During the Middle Ages, though, cheaper imports were available, and English wine took a downturn. The remaining vineyards disappeared at the end of the 14th Century when a relatively warm climate period ended and a mini ice age set in. Fast-forward to 1951, when the first modern commercial planting was at Hambledon Vineyard in Hampshire. Today there are over 400 vineyards in England. The majority are situated in the southern counties, particularly Kent, Sussex and Surrey. Hundreds are tiny boutique wineries with insufficient production to afford the latest winemaking equipment, and making at best drinkable, often expensive wine.

This is gradually changing, with a quiet revolution underway on the English wine scene. Significant investment by well-funded individuals and consortia mean that there are now several producers carving out a niche. These include Nyetimber (sited in the Domesday book), Denbies, RidgeView and Three Choirs. All are producing commercially viable quantities of wine and have been established long enough to be able to produce some good wines at reasonable prices. Nyetimber gets rave reviews and picks up international awards for its sparkling wines. Chapel Down and Curious Grape are two English wine brands owned by English Wine PLC. The company owns some vineyards but sources the majority of its grapes from over 20 growers in the South of England.

Many in the industry believe that the future of English wine is in sparkling wine. The soils (chalk and limestone) are similar to Champagne and consumer acceptance of Non Vintage sparkling wines helps English winemakers maintain a consistent standard in poor years. The grapes grown so far have been mainly German, cool climate varieties, with typical white varieties being Muller Thurgau (13 per cent of plantings) Reichensteiner (12 per cent), Bacchus (10 per cent). The main non-German variety is the white French grape Seyval Blanc (7 per cent), Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc are also planted. Red grape varieties are far less common as the climate doesn't hotten up sufficiently for most varieties to thrive and ripen well. The main red grape is Schonburger (8 per cent), but there is also some Pinot Noir.


Zingy, fresh, fruity Sauvignon Blanc style wines. High on acidity, big on flavour.
Can be either full of gooseberries, green apples, grassy aromas or more subtle, tropical passion fruit flavours.
The New Zealand style tends to be more intense than the mineral, stony style you’ll find in Sancerre & Pouilly Fume – the home of the Sauvignon Blanc grape in Loire, France. Look out for Chilean Sav Blancs for good value for money.

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Apple, peach and citrus aromas on the nose with typical Veltliner spiciness with a touch of white pepper on the palate. Soft and juicy with good acidity. A food friendly wine.
Zensa Fiano Salento Italy 2017
On the palate the wine is crisp and aromatic, with tropical notes and exotic fruit. The finish is well balanced, long and persistent.
Domaine Gerald et Philibert Talmard Macon-Villages France 2017
A soft, well made wine with honeyed, fruit & mineral notes.

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Interviews and News from Chapel Down


UK Wine Show 3 Owen Elias from Chapel Down

Owen Elias from Chapel Down talks to us about winemaking in the UK and how the industry has changed over the last decade from amateur hobbyist to professional business.


UK Wine Show 187 Guy Tresnan of Chapel Down on brand positioning in the UK

Chapel Down is one of the biggest players in English wine. We met up with Guy Tresnan to find out how they are positioning the brand in the UK market.

France takes away most medals in IWC competition

France has come top of the medal table at this year’s International Wine Challenge

Nyetimber sparkles in International Wine & Spirit Competition

An amazing 96% of English wines were awarded medals in this year’s International Wine & Spirit Competition

Chapel Down opens new restaurant

Chapel Down has joined forces with Celebrity TV Chef, Richard Phillips, to launch a restaurant at the vineyard in Tenterden, Kent.

Chapel Down introduce two new wines

English winery launches Malbec and Royal Wedding sparkling wine.

Royal family to plant vineyard

Royal family to plant vineyard at Windsor Castle.

IWC winners announced

Gold Medal winners announced only Gold Rose in the world is from England

Chapel Down restaurant closes

Restriction on number of weddings forces restaurant to close

Rain, rain and more rain means UK vintage close to a wash out

Rain dampens hopes for this year's English wine harvest.

English harvest a corker

English Wine Growers upbeat about 2013 harvests

Chapel Down Fizz auction to support the Arts

A 15-litre Nebuchadnezzar of Chapel Down sparkling Blanc de Blancs is to be auctioned at Christie’s to raise funds for a British arts charity.

Chapel Down expands

Chapel Down expand vineyards in response to consumer demand.

England's 1st Orange wine

Chapel Down launch first Orange Bacchus.

Cloudy Bay wins at Chelsea Flower Show

Chelsea Flower Show and Downing Street backs English Wine

Decanter Wine Awards 2016

Winners of the Decanter Wine Awards 2016 announced

Chapel Down launches in US

Chapel Down expands to US

UK producer Chapel Down amazes the Spanish with English Albarino

Chapel Down's Albarino has impressed a group of experts in Spain’s Galicia, the location of Rias Baixas, the home of Albarino.

Chapel Down signs lease to become the UK's largest winery

English Winery Chapel Down has leased 388 acres of land and when fully planted will be the largest UK winery with 950 acres under its control producing 1 million bottles per year.

Interviews and News from England


UK Wine Show 2 Dermot Sugrue Nyetimber

We interview Nyetimber's winemaker, Dermot Sugrue. Dermot is an effervescent character from Ireland producing England's top sparkling wines.

Nyetimber plans leap from boutique to brand

English sparkling wine producer Nyetimber hopes to go from ‘boutique to brand’ now that Stephen Clark has joined the company

English Wine Week gathers interest

English Wine Week, the countrywide campaign to promote English wines and vineyards, kicks off on Saturday 24th May.

English Bacchus served at dinner for Bush

Denbies’ Bacchus 2004 was served at a dinner held for President Bush by the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street recently.

Still white wine sparkles in UK competition

A still white wine has taken the top prize in this year’s English & Welsh Wine of the Year Competition.

All change at Nyetimber

English sparkling wine producer Nyetimber has appointed a new sales manager Francis Brackley.

UK plants more vines

Vineyard plantings in the UK continue to increase according to the latest DEFRA figures which show there are 1,106 hectares now under vine.

English wine week is 29 May-6 June

English Wine Week kicks off this week from Saturday 29th May to Sunday 6th June with a countrywide campaign to promote English wines.

English wine is getting bigger by the day

Biggest production on record for 2010 UK vintage.

Surprise result as UK wine hits alcohol levels similar to Ozzie Reds

UK vineyard reports red wine with alcohol levels of 15%.

Loire wines popular in the UK

Loire wine exports to the UK up in volume during 2012

Game, Set and Fizz at Wimbledon!

Special edition Lanson kitted out for Wimbledon

Clamp down on smugglers

HMRC clamping down on illicit wine smuggled into the UK

Illegal servings of Prosecco in UK bars

Sparkling wine incorrectly labelled as Prosecco in UK bars

Who had a turkey for Christmas wine sales?

Retailers announce Christmas period wine, beer and spirit sales.

Growing English wine industry

More English wine being produced than ever before.

One Body for English Wines

English Wine Producers call for a united body.

Italy now world's biggest wine producer

Italy becomes Europe's largest producer while England grows at 4.4%

UK spending more on wine

UK wine drinkers spending more on wine

UK mens weekly alcohol limit now one of the lowest

New guidelines bring UK men's weekly alcohol limits in line with women

Vive Le English Sparkling Wine!

English Sparkling Wine beats Champagne in blind tasting

Free beer for England football fans

Iceland to give free beer to England football fans.

Brexit ripples across wine industry

Brexit effects on wine industry

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Hush Heath Estate are reporting a rise in demand due to Brexit.

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Food and Wine writer slams London wine business

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eBay auction has bumper sales of wine related items

A new wine competition “The UK Wine Awards”

The UK Wine Awards is a new wine competition focused on the English and Welsh wines.

Taittinger Plants in Kent

Taittinger is the first of the big branded champagne houses to plant grapes in the UK.

English Wine Week 2017 will take place Saturday 27th May - Sunday 4th June 2017

English Wine Week is only 2 weeks away with around 90 events taking place all over the UK.

Champagne house Pommery first to release English Fizz!

Vranken Pommery Monopole launches English Fizz grown and made for them by Hampshire wine producer Hattingley Valley.