England has overtaken Spain to become the third most-listed sparkling wine producer after Champagne and Italy, according to research carried out by wine merchant Jascots.
Sales jumped 24 per cent in the last year, and restaurant listings increased by 27 per cent in 60 restaurants that were surveyed in 2015 and 2016, Adam Porter, Jascots' head of buying and marketing said at a press conference in London today.
'English wine has reached a critical point. Its high quality has been widely recognised by critics worldwide and consumers are catching on. Combine this with the recent trend toward "local food" and "craft drinks" and it’s not hard to see why demand is on the rise,' Porter said.
He was presenting new research that included 240 wine lists from independent restaurants, bars and pubs, analysing nearly 19,000 wines in total.
The research also revealed the Old World is still dominant, Spain and Australia are falling, and Chardonnay is on the up.
France and Italy both saw their share increase last year, though Australia’s performance – perhaps surprisingly, given the positive feedback from the recent Australia Day Tasting - was disappointing.
The country’s share dipped to around 4% of an average wine list – about the same as Chile and Argentina, which both saw solid gains in 2016.
In terms of varietals, Chardonnay increased its position as number one white variety, with 24% of the share, while Sauvignon Blanc saw a backlash, declining in popularity. Champagne declined, listings of English sparkling wine increased significantly, and Italian fizz was flat.
'Most people just list one prosecco,' said Jascots' head of buying, Adam Porter. 'There’s an opportunity to let people trade up by offering a range, without affecting other premium sparkling wines.'
Looking towards trends for 2017, the merchant predicted continued growth in by-the-glass sales and alternative serves, like taps, and also of 'alternative premium' styles like Etna.
'Super-classic fine wine regions are as expensive as there are going to get,' said Porter. 'We can go somewhere else with a great back-story that’s a lot cheaper.'