"Remember gentlemen it's not just France we're fighting for - it's Champagne"
Winston S. Churchill, 1918
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Vineyard Focus
Chapel Down Vineyards

This months Vineyard Focus centres on Chapel Down, who are based in Tenterden, Kent. The Company actually owns two vineyards, with a new acquisition being on Bluebell Hill, close to Aylesford.

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Our objective is to select the English wine that gives you the opportunity to enjoy the very best of what England’s finest vineyards have to offer.

We are a small privately owned company based in the heart of the English wine country.

In recent years English wine has become a force to be reckoned with, even beating the traditional competition at international level.

English wines have become a wine to drink through choice and not just patriotism. Best English Wine continually selects English wines that have won awards for their outstanding quality.

Historically English wine has been perceived as inferior to other regions. With the changes in climate over the last decade, however, this is now completely incorrect. Perception is changing rapidly.

As we celebrate fifty years since the first commercial harvest in this country, we also reach a turning point in the industry’s history. Sales of English wines are at an all time high. Intense media interest has followed the success of an English sparkling wine beating over 55 other countries to the title of best sparkling white wine in the world.
Demand has never been higher and the interest in English wines never greater.

Due to the different microclimates and soil conditions throughout the country, a wide variety of vines have been planted. Nevertheless English wines have their own distinct 'style'. Common pleasing characteristics that make them uniquely English include a floral bouquet along with a crisp, fresh taste.

The climate and soil conditions also dictate the varieties of grape which can be grown and harvested successfully. The black grape varieties are the most difficult to grow, needing a warmer climate to ripen correctly.

Whilst there are some which can be grown successfully without the need for 'tunnels', only 10% of wine production is currently red. Greater success has come from the production of sparkling wines. This is attributed to the combined effects of the chalky soil in the south east of England and the local climatic conditions, likened to the champagne regions in France.

This has led to significant growth in vineyard planting, with many of the famous champagne houses now buying tracts of land throughout the South of England to expand their production over the coming years.

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