Grape Britain

Grape Britain : A Tour of Britain's Vineyards

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In 2006, a British sparkling wine was voted best in the world. Sound too good to be true? It isn't. At the time of the compilation of the "Domesday Book" in the late 11th century, vineyards were recorded in 46 places in southern England, from East Anglia through to modern-day Somerset. By the time Henry VIII ascended the throne there were 139 sizable vineyards in England and Wales - 11 of them owned by the Crown, 67 by noble families and 52 by the church. It is not exactly clear why the number of vineyards declined subsequently. Some have put it down to an adverse change in the weather which made an uncertain enterprise even more problematic. Others have linked it with the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII. Both these factors may have had some part to play but in all probability the decline was gradual (over several centuries) and for more complex reasons. It was not until after the Second World War that the wine business began a resurgence. An ever-increasing number of pioneers joined and during the 1960s, 70s and 80s, there was a rapid increase in the number of English vineyards to a figure well over 400 by the late 80s/early 90s.
The total area under cultivation rose to more than 2,000 acres. The trade is now stable with some 300 vineyards spread over the length and breadth of Britain and is set to double production in the near future in order to cope with the huge demand for its wines. This is in sharp contrast to the state of vineyards elsewhere in the world, and is due to both improving weather conditions and perhaps even more so to the improvements in wine-making ability and grape-growing in the UK over the past few years. David Harvey has spent a year travelling around these vineyards, from Chateau de la Mare in Jersey to Leventhorpe in Yorkshire, and from the big challengers to Champagne, Nyetimber Vineyard in Sussex to great small producers like historic Tintern Parva in Wales. In this enlightening guide book, they are detailed and described along with tasting notes and product details. This is the one essential book you will need to learn about this fascinating but largely ignored trade.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 188 x 246 x 20mm | 621.42g
  • Angel's Share
  • Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • English
  • colour and black and white integrated plates/halftones, cartoons
  • 1903238455
  • 9781903238455
  • 931,878

Table of contents

Acknowledgements ix Introduction 1 PART ONE 1 A Brief History of British Wine 9 2 Enjoying Wine 12 3 Notes on Grape Varieties 19 4 A Book of Days: A Year in the Life of a Vine 25 5 Vintages 35 6 Growing Grapes 40 PART TWO: A Tour of Britain's Vineyards 7 WEALD AND DOWNLAND 45 Kent, East and West Sussex, Surrey and Middlesex 8 EAST ANGLIA 89 Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire 9 THAMES AND CHILTERN 115 Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire 10 WESSEX 123 Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Channel Islands, Dorset and Wiltshire 11 THE WEST COUNTRY 141 Somerset, Devon and Cornwall 12 WALES/CYMRU 161 Glamorgan, Dyfed, Ceredigion, Gwynedd, Ynys Mon, Clwyd, Powys and Gwent 13 MARCHER COUNTIES 178 Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire 14 MERCIA and THE NORTH 197 Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Scotland Appendix 1: Wine and Food Matching 225 Appendix 11: Vineyard addresses and OS map references 229 Glossary 239 Index 242
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About David Harvey

David Harvey was so surprised to find a good vineyard in Leeds that he ended up travelling to and writing a book about the hundreds of other great UK wineries. Formerly in management for Oddbins Wine Merchants, he is now Marketing Manager for Record Collector, Book and Magazine Collector and Family History Monthly Magazines.
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