English Wine Week

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:48 pm on 23rd June 2021.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Andrew Griffith Andrew Griffith Conservative, Arundel and South Downs 5:48 pm, 23rd June 2021

I thank my hon. Friend for that eminent suggestion. As we know, the only thing better than half a litre of English sparkling wine is a full litre, but why would we seek to deprive choice to the consumer? Perhaps the Minister and her colleagues will pick that up when she responds.

Wine, as we know, has a long history on this island, having been introduced by the Romans. By the time of the Normans, who indeed chose Sussex to land, more than 40 vineyards were listed in the Domesday Book—one of the earliest censuses on record—proving that their produce has always attracted the attention of the taxman. There was healthy growth in the wine industry in the late medieval and early-modern period, with 139 vineyards recorded at the time of Henry VIII’s coronation. Indeed, to this day, just over the road, there is a legacy of Henry’s prodigious taste for wine in the form of his personal cellar, now buried—or so they claim—under the Ministry of Defence. English wine has done exceptionally well in recent years and is now repeatedly recognised as a contender among some of the world leaders in the industry, with England winning more gold medals in the Sommelier Wine Awards than France.