It all started in 2013. Little did I know when venturing into my local wine store in Leicester that my former Champagne drinking days were numbered! The wine presented to me was the 2004 Nyetimber Classic Cuvée. It was a game-changer; my first ever tasting of an English Sparkling, let alone an English Wine, and it was absolutely divine!
The freshness drew me in; bold and punchy, a vibrant citrus kick with characteristically English orchard fruit, underpinned by rich toasted brioche and hints of nut and apricot. The Nyetimber was the sparkling wine I was looking for. I knew on this very day that something significant was happening in England.
Then living in Leicester, English Wine was not easy to come by – I discovered Chapel Down and English Bacchus. This new grape varietal was captivating and fresh, but simultaneously light and delicate – the antithesis of the cumbersome and over the top zingy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that plagued the supermarket wines shelves of England.
It wasn’t until May 2015 and after having relocated to Surrey, that I ventured to the English Wine Producers Press and Trade Tasting. I arrived, eager-eyed and ready to see if these chance encounters were a one-off. Was England truly ready to enter the global stage of world-class winemaking?
The answer was a resounding YES! Before my eyes, rows of superb English Sparkling wines ready and waiting for discovery. This day was also my first encounter with Wiston Classic Cuvée, with Hush Heath Balfour Brut Rosé and with Chapel Down’s Kit’s Coty Chardonnay. These wines would go on to inspire me to embark on a long journey of English Wine discovery.
The next day I sat down at my laptop, still buzzing from the day before, but inspired to get the word out about English Wine. That same day GreatBritishWine.com was born out of pure passion and the want to create a platform to explore and to share my journey with others. This site is all about what makes our fine country the most exciting upcoming wine region in the world!
Great British Wine founder John started his English wine journey as a prolific reviewer on popular wine app Vivino. After relocating to Surrey in 2013, he discovered great wines were on his doorstep, and set about exploring the world of English wine, launching the website in 2015. Now a self-appointed Great British Wine ambassador, he has a mission to explore all corners of the UK to uncover the best producers and most exciting wines.
OUR WRITERS & CONTRIBUTORS
A former schoolteacher, with a doctorate in Musicology, Stephen first learnt about wine in Bruges, when there ostensibly to discover Belgian beer. His fellow traveller taught him about the principal grape varieties and he’s not looked back since. WSET Level 3 (with Merit) qualified, Stephen is passionate about English wine with an evangelical zeal to spread the word and a real belief in its world-class potential.
Food enthusiast, linguist and educator, Francoise has a taste for the viner things in life, having spent the last few years in the fine wine capital of Bordeaux, during which time she worked for a luxury wine merchant. Her culinary blog, the Fork and Cork, is inspired from her training at Leiths School of Food and Wine and at the BBC Good Food Magazine. Now on West Country home turf, she’s a judge for the International English Wine Awards and also a Food and Wine Columnist for publications such as the Bath Life Magazine.
Matt Hodgson is the founder of independent English wine retailer Grape Britannia. Proud of their meticulously curated range of fine English wines, from artisanal winemakers to the largest producers of the English wine scene,Grape Britannia stocks over 170 English and Welsh wines.
It would have been impossible for Hannah not to fall in love with wine, whilst living the glamorous life, serving fine wines aboard superyachts and in Alpine ski chalets. Combining her lust for vines and travel, Hannah spent two years working vintages in France, Australia, and New Zealand, (making both commercial and minimal intervention wines). Feet firmly back on home soil she is enamoured with the blossoming British wine industry and can’t wait to share her English wine escapades with you.
Robbie is an unquenchable wine sipper with an appreciation for almost any and all wines, but a particular passion for Sparkling (English, no doubt), Loire Chenin and anything containing his beloved Roussanne. As a proud Welshman, who writes for a hobby, Robbie provides regular content for a few publications, but focuses on home-grown wines for us here at GBW.
Sam caught the wine bug at university while studying economics after tasting his first glass of Riesling. A few years later started working in the trade at an urban winery in London and today can be found tasting, talking about and, occasionally, selling wine at Provisions London. He also runs a wee wine tastings business called Anything But Chardonnay (although he loves Chardonnay).
Jenni’s love of wine stemmed from her passion for travel which has sparked a career change from the technology sector in financial services. As an advocate for English wine and viticulture, she has aspirations of becoming a winemaker and is currently studying for an MSc in Viticulture & Oenology. When not found in English vineyards, you can find her sharing her knowledge on wines in her tasting classes or sipping on some South African Chenin Blanc with a wine book.
Charles is the editor of thenaturalsommelier.com, an online blog to promote small artisanal, British, organic, biodynamic and natural wines from the unbiased perspective of a British Sommelier. Charles currently works as the Head Sommelier of Henrock by Simon Rogan www.henrock.co.uk, where he promotes sustainable wine practices on the wine list, and empowers smaller producers where possible. In his spare time, Charles loves the outdoors, reading and enjoying a pint at his local.
Andrij works as an Area Sales Manager for Majestic Commercial. Having previously worked in the Retail side of the business and as Business Manager at his family’s brewery, Andrij has a great understanding of the many elements of alcoholic beverage manufacture and sales; from procurement to production, marketing, sales and business management. He also previously owned a gastropub in Derbyshire with an extensive English Wine List, which is where his passion for exploring and promoting English Wine began. Andrij has a particular love of Tuscan reds, Riesling and Syrah.