No. 106                                   Monday September 22, 2014 

I can certainly see that you know your wine. Most of the guests who stay here wouldn’t know the difference between Bordeaux and Claret.

― Basil Fawlty, “Fawlty Towers”

Hi subscriber.

Welcome to your ukvine newsletter: the power of wine!


Flying the flag: Red with his wines, beers and spirits


THE BRITISH BOTTLE Company, the first company to specialise in the export of premium British drinks has released its portfolio of Enlgish wine it is seeking to export. Founded by food and drink entrepreneur Red Johnson, the company is now representing a portfolio of English Sparkling Wine producers as well as beer and spirit producers.

Johnson, the son of wine writer Hugh Johnson, is working with English wine specialist Mike Paul to assemble a portfolio of brands. He says: “This is an amazing period for the British drinks industry [as] English Sparkling Wine is coming of age.”

Based in Hampshire, The British Bottle Company provides a full service export facility for its suppliers including market analysis, distributor matching, marketing, logistics and administration.

He says: “Even large producers can struggle to find the resources and expertise to manage export effectively. We essentially act as the in-house export team by managing the entire process, from strategy and sales to the nuts and bolts of export. It’s all we do and we are out there in the market representing our suppliers all the time."

Camel Valley winemaker Sam Lindo says: “We are absolutely delighted to be working with The British Bottle Company. This unique approach is exactly what our fledgling industry needs to help us pool resources to enter new export markets. Red has a great team with a lot of experience in all aspects of export.”

The company is currently representing Ridgeview, Digby Fine English, Camel Valley, Hush Heath and Hattingley Valley. 

BBC: not that one


Walking the plank for English wine

AVAST ME HEARTIES! Ambriel Blanc de Noirs was launched on Friday last week, which happened  to be 2014 – ‘International Talk Like a Pirate Day’. Yo! Ho! Ho! – It’s a bottle of yum!

The vineyard's press-gang created this  English Sparkling wine from Pinot Noir grapes  ripened on the sunny south-facing slopes of Sussex. This "treasure" had been matured on the lees for three years and - as Polly would say - it’s a cracker. The initial sip is of fresh lime and ripe peach, making way for honeycomb and warmed brioche. It has a fine, lively mousse and a limber finish.

Blimey! Its enough to make buccaneers fizz, says winemaker and owner Wendy Outhwaite QC. She says: "A bottle of booty costs merely a few doubloons (£27.50 a bottle, or £150 for a case of 6) and is available from privateers (independent wine merchants) or directly from the website.

"Matey, once the sun is over the yardarm, splice the mainbrace and get Roger jolly. There’s never been a better way to walk the plonk. We’ll bet our grape shot will make even the saltiest seadog ‘Ooh!’ and ‘Ah!’," she added.


Hattingley Valley is CSWWC champion vintage rosé

HAMPSHIRE VINEYARD HATTINGLEY Valley has won World Champion Vintage Rosé in the inaugural Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships (CSWWC) 2014 with its 2011 English Sparkling Rosé.

Hattingley Valley founder Simon Robinson said: “To win this title against stiff competition from Champagne and around the world is a great credit to the team who have taken this winery from a standing start to first release with six years of incredibly hard work. We are excited and humbled to win this, and it gives us enormous encouragement and enthusiasm for the future.”

Emma Rice, winemaker said: “This caps an extraordinary year for us. We are all delighted to win such recognition, not just for the rosé but also the silver for the Classic Cuvee too. We are a young winery with a tight knit young team. To be World Champion Vintage Rosé is a huge honour for us. We’ll be working doubly hard to make sure we build on this.”


STOP PRESS: White Castle Vineyard Quality Welsh Wines picks up awards

2013 Rose. Refreshing, delicious and always in demand - Awarded Highly Commended at the Autumn South West Vineyard Association Competition 2014.

2013 Gwin gwyn. Intensely delicious, Impressive, Quality. - Awarded Bronze at the Autumn South West Vineyard Association Competition 2014.



A RARE AND unique opportunity to acquire or rent a productive Biodynamic vineyard and substantial production barn in a delightful rural East Sussex location. The vineyard extends to some 12.5 acres with over 11,000 vines ranging from three to seven years. The vines are a mixture of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay clones and more recently some Solaris variety. There is a steel framed barn currently housing a winery, wine store, and storage area. The winery is fitted with tanks and production equipment which will be included with the property. In addition there is a timber stable block with the potential to convert to retail use or workers accommodation (STPP).
Also available if required is a five bedroom, three bathroom farm house, holiday cottage, indoor heated swimming pool, and equestrian facilities set in four acres.
Viewing strictly by appointment through the Vendor. Telephone 01825 713421

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Debut novel 

Clouds Over the Vineyard

THE FIRST COPIES of  wine writer and journalist James Graham's debut novel have been sold. The ebook was launched to coincide with English Wine Week last week.

It is now available on Kindle and Lulu.com.


The men from the council

Tony Hibbett manages the previously abandoned Clocktower Vineyard, which unusually occupies two former allotments in a public park in West London.

He writes: POLICED WERE CALLED in on the last day of the funfair regarding a violent incident. Now it’s gone, there is another threat looming - two council officers approached me, making enquiries about the vineyard. They mentioned a development grant. As the park is managed by Laing, the building company, my suspicions were raised. As the site is over a Blitz pit, containing human remains, lead, asbestos etc. and in a potential flood risk area, residential development is unlikely, but a money making leisure centre with parking facilities is a different matter, and I have no tenancy rights.

My experiment with a bunch of Rondo grapes produced some useful data. The glass of wine produced is deep red and full bodied, with a final pH of 3.5 (originally 3.1) and a good amount of tannin but the flavour is unexceptional and slightly marred by some oxidation, which I guess is inevitable from fermenting such a small quantity of non-sulphited juice.

As yet, none of the grapes tested have exceeded 17 Brix, and I suspect this may be the upper limit, but with daytime temperatures still above average and plenty of sun, I am in no rush to harvest.


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