Tuesday, 11 January 2011

England Will Never Be The Same Again.

I am used to living two separate lives.
One consists of small entreprenurial growers in England and Wales who are on first name terms with each of their vines and make individualistic wines (good and bad) that reflect themselves (invariably good) and their land. That's not to say that the people involved are all retired military types with too much time on their hands - there are plenty of bright people who have just decided that this is the lifestyle for them.

My other life is the one that pays me money. Dealing with growers and buyers over millions of litres of product destined for retailers here and abroad. Competition is cutthroat and there is no margin for error as the recent enforced sales of the largest wine companies has proved. Despite the numbers involved,  I often won't even see a bottle of it  until it appears on a shelf . You just trust that those containers are actually on a ship or truck like the shippers say they are.
Things have changed. For a while now money has been coming into planting English vineyards. 100 acres planted here, 200 there but all of a sudden Mark Draper from Twickenham has decided to plant 660 acres which is 300 times more than Guy and Laura ex of Twickenham! This is enough land  to make a quantity equivalent to sales of the Number 1 Champagne - Moet et Chandon.

Mark Draper.

From a situation where virtually every English grower is selling all their wine every year with very little effort, you are going to have serious competition for "share of throat" ( my alltime favourite drinks marketing phrase). My two worlds are colliding and soon we're all going to be living in a wine producing country, at least for a while.