English wine producers can't satisfy demand
English sparkling wine is proving to be such a rip-roaring success that some producers are having to limit the number of bottles they give their customers.
At RidgeView, Mike Roberts thought he’d got a big vintage this year that would enable him to keep his customers happy, but already he’s sold as much as he did by June last year. He told ThirtyFifty that the company tries to make its sparkling wines as widely available as possible, and that includes allocating some for new customers. The only way it can do this at the moment is by restricting the amount people can buy. This impacts first on visitors to the vineyard, then the trade.
Ongoing new planting will hopefully relieve the situation, but Mike says that won’t happen until 2009. What he won’t do, however, unlike some, is put up his prices just because of high demand. ‘We don’t see that as good in the long term for our relationship with our customers,’ he said.
At Nyetimber, too, the company is feeling the pressure of not enough fizz to satisfy demand. Chief Executive Officer Eric Heerema told ThirtyFifty, ‘It’s a bit too much as we have to disappoint loyal customers.’ As a result, Nyetimber has decided to shift its sales policy towards the top tier of the on-trade. ‘It’s better for us to go for a niche and distinguish ourselves,’ said Eric.
In fact, Nyetimber is about to go on the wine list at the three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck, which was this week voted the number-two Best Restaurant in the World for the second-year running (the restaurant took the crown in 2005). When you hear that such an esteemed establishment wants to serve our domestic bubbly, you know English sparkling wine has come a long way.