September 29, 2022

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Climate Change Brings British Wine Success - NRK Urix - Foreign News & Documentaries

Climate Change Brings British Wine Success – NRK Urix – Foreign News & Documentaries

It’s not just the wine swarming in the Black Chalks vineyards in Hampshire, southwest of London. Almost hundreds of people overflow with excitement between hay bales and bottles of wine at Fizz Fest.

– Strawberries and cream in a glass, reading Mages Revit’s description of the pink wine you sip.

It is made in her neighborhood, at one of the other wineries in the area. There are more and more of them.

Fizz in Hampshire is a festival that celebrates the growing number of English sparkling wines produced here.

Photo: Håvard Blekastad Almås / NRK

There were approximately 900 vineyards in England and Wales. Sales increased 69% from 2019 to 2021.

But those who celebrate British bubbles are also aware of the bleak background that makes this production possible.

Wine production moved north

You can’t talk about English wine without talking about climate change, says Chris Unger.

He is head of marketing for wine producer Hattingley Valley Wines, and is busy handing out tastings to the long lines of wine-hungry Brits at the festival.

But even if global warming means that wine grapes can be grown more and more northward, the harsher weather is bringing new challenges.

grapes

Grapes thrive in a warmer British climate. But climate change also brings with it more extreme weather, which can be a problem for wine production.

Photo: Håvard Blekastad Almås / NRK

Grapes thrive in a warmer British climate. But climate change also brings with it more extreme weather, which can be a problem for wine production.

Photo: Håvard Blekastad Almås / NRK

We see high temperatures in February which means sprouts are coming in earlier. But at the same time we have a late frost. He explains that when the two things happen at the same time, the entire crop can be destroyed instantly.

Under the scorching sun, it is high among the vines. Group of friends going in full swing with wine tasting.

– I love English wine, he says Sarah Earle Natras, before her friend Beth Norris pulls out a bottle from an ice bucket and says it’s better than the one Sarah drinks.

Party amongst the vineyards in Hampshire

In the partial shade of the vines, friends gather with British Bubbles.

Photo: Håvard Blekastad Almås / NRK

In the partial shade of the vines, friends gather with British Bubbles.

Photo: Håvard Blekastad Almås / NRK

And she continues to laugh as she humorously answers her opinion on climate change:

– It is clearly good, because then there will be more wine production near us.

But behind the apparent lightness lies the understanding of seriousness.

– I’d rather go to another place to drink wine there, than drown our world, he says Tamlin Deacon.

– Climate change is great – until we’re underwater, he says David Earl Natras.

Norway is the largest export market

Only 4 percent of British wine is exported. Scandinavia is the largest export market, and Norway dominates there, according to figures from industry organization Wine GB.

Half of British exported wine is drunk by Norwegians, He writes for the Great Times.

Sales have increased tenfold in the past five years, says Vinmonopolet’s Press Director Jens Nordahl.

Interest increased very quickly. And we expect sales to grow in the future as well, because of the high quality, he says.

Ladies at the wine splash festival in Hampshire

Atmospheric elevation and temperature. The ladies were able to sample wines from nine different vineyards at the Sparkling Wine Festival in Hampshire.

Photo: Håvard Blekastad Almås / NRK

Nordahl explains the growing interest in British wine in Norway by the fact that Norwegians have loved British pub culture, music, and historical society since the Viking Age.

Hattingley Valley Market Director Chris Unger also believes that historical and cultural ties are important. But he also refers to another aspect of the Norwegians:

I think the Norwegians’ desire to explore is part of the explanation. They are willing to try new things.

Norway is also unique in another way. Vinmonopolet sells British Bubble as a separate category.

The fact that outlets have their own labels of “English sparkling wine” is something we don’t see anywhere else in the world. We use Norway as a model for what is possible elsewhere in the world, as the satisfied wine producer demonstrates.

It is roasted in English sparkling wine

Toast! Self-produced sparkling wine is on the rise in Great Britain – and in Norway.

Photo: Håvard Blekastad Almås / NRK

Toast! Self-produced sparkling wine is on the rise in Great Britain – and in Norway.

Photo: Håvard Blekastad Almås / NRK

You can now buy over 100 different types of British Bubble in Norway, but the category comes with an obvious drawback. There are champagne prices, with most costing 300-400 NOK per bottle.

NRK is taking the opportunity to ask Chris Unger if it’s appropriate to cut prices.

– number. Eh… the simple answer is no.

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