English wines are on a roll - this year it is estimated that another two million vines will be planted. England’s vineyards have doubled in size in the past 8 years and tripled since 2000. There are currently 7,000 acres under vine across 164 wineries and a record breaking 15.6 million bottles were produced in 2018, 130% higher than the previous year’s crop in 2017 and far exceeding the previous record of 6.3m bottles in 2014.
This year, New Zealand is celebrating 200 years since the country’s first vines took root. In September 1819, Yorkshire man and Christian missionary Samuel Marsden planted 100 vines in New Zealand’s far north but it would take a long time for a true wine industry to flourish.
The superb 2018 vintage in Bordeaux was very much the result of two diametrically opposed periods – a very wet first half of the season, with just enough dry weather to allow flowering to happen smoothly, which on the one hand lead to the loss of part of the crop through mildew but, crucially, replenished water tables.
As the wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy compete for the title of most in-demand fine wines in the world, with ever-increasing prices the result of this rivalry, there is still a classic region in France where one can find outstanding value for money at every rung of the quality ladder– the Rhône Valley.
As 2019 continues apace, Mr.Wheeler’s fine wine department has continued to grow and indeed, flourish since the turn of the year. The worldwide release of 2017 Burgundy was met with keen demand from Merchants and private buyers alike. The vintage offered a sensationally supple, modern classic of a year and was equally successful for both pinot noir and chardonnay across the length of the Côte d’Or and Chablis.