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English sparkling wine market reach bubbles over to US with 5,000-bottle shipment

Mary Ellen Shoup

By Mary Ellen Shoup+

22-Aug-2016
Last updated on 24-Aug-2016 at 15:54 GMT2016-08-24T15:54:27Z

The US market is a priority for English sparkling wine exporters.
The US market is a priority for English sparkling wine exporters.

Five thousand bottles of English sparkling wine have reached US shores late last week following a partnership between drinks exporter The British Bottling Company and New Jersey-based Vine Street Imports.

The shipment marks the company’s largest shipment of English wine to an international market, marketing director of English Wine Producers, Julia Trustram Eve, said. The shipment is also a commitment to the country’s pledge of increasing its exports of English wine tenfold to more than $39.4m (£30m) and 2.5m bottles by 2020.

The shipment included 12 varieties of sparkling wine from Hush Heath, Camel Valley, Digby and Bolney wineries, each of which will be officially launched in the US market in October 2016 by brand representatives from The British Bottling Company.

The wines will be distributed to specialty retailers and restaurants across eight states and Washington, DC, initially: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Massachusetts, Georgia, Montana and Maryland. This first container will be followed by further shipments from The British Bottle Company portfolio in the coming months.

English sparkling wine ‘offers a distinct style’

In order to differentiate itself within a well-established US market where California wines remain a consumer favorite, Gabriel Stone, business development manager for the British Bottling Company, said that British sparkling wine has something new and different to offer consumers.

“The climate and geology of England's south coast are a world away from the likes of Anderson Valley so it should come as no surprise that the wines made here offer a distinct style,” Stone told BeverageDaily.

“We know that the US contains a growing army of wine lovers who value not just high quality but originality and an authentic sense of place. That's the perfect audience for English sparkling wine.”

The flavor and texture profile of sparkling wines made in England will likely appeal to Champagne drinkers because of its lively acidity, rather than consumers who enjoy the “softer-styled Prosecco,” she added.

Already a popular fixture in the UK

The UK is one of the world’s largest markets for wine and the company believes its popularity across the pond will carry over to the US, according to Stone.

“In its home market, English sparkling wine has certainly benefited from the large number of engaged, knowledgeable consumers who recognize the quality on offer, with the patriotic element an added bonus,” she said. 

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