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Best English Wine: Popular Wine Brands In The UK

Best English Wine: Popular Wine Brands In The UK

franco salzillo arriaga |

The UK is known for being one of the most enthusiastic wine consuming countries globally; their thirst helped fuel the wine industries in France, Portugal, Spain and its own colonies. Still, the UK was not considered a serious wine-producing country until recently, most probably because of the climate change. Now, English producers grow premium vinifera grapes, especially in the country’s southern counties, and the wine is good!

Here is the best English wine, the best wine in the UK that has opened a world of possibilities to the country’s young vinous industry. You’ll find the most popular wine brands in the UK and a few lesser-known producers, so buckle up! These are the most popular wines in the UK. 

Yes, the UK Makes Wine, And It’s Good

The United Kingdom has always been too cold for growing Vitis vinifera vines, the grape cultivar used to make wine. This led producers to plant hybrid varieties, which produce less than stellar wine. That’s not the case anymore. The country now produces premium wine with popular grapes, and it was about time — grapes arrived in the UK with the Ancient Romans; still, the wine scene is recent. 

The best English wine is still sparkling, but red, pink and white wines are now in vogue, and they’re better every year. And although the most popular wine brands in the UK are still foreign, local wine is finding its way into the competitive market. 

Most Popular Wine Brands in UK

  1. Hattingley Valley
  2. Lyme Bay
  3. Chapel Down
  4. Coates & Seely
  5. Ridgeview Bloomsbury
  6. Aldwick
  7. Brightwell Vineyard
  8. Bolney Wine 
  9. Stopham Estate
  10. Giffords Hall

1. Hattingley Valley

Hattingley is one of the most successful wineries in the UK. The estate planted its first vineyard in 2008 and now produces 600 tons of grapes destined to become excellent wine. The Robinson family is behind this undertaking, they work with their own fruit, but they also source premium grapes from all around England. 

Emma Rice is the head winemaker in Hattingley Valley, and she has been named winemaker of the year twice. Here, Emma produces sparkling wine with the traditional method with impressive results. Their finest wines are aged up to nine months ‘sur lie’ to gain a rich mouthfeel that goes well with the wine’s attractive scents. Still very young, Hattingley might sometime soon be considered the finest estate in the UK for sparkling wine.

2. Lyme Bay Winery

Lyme Bay Winery, or LBW, is a small but leading estate dedicated to crafting extraordinary wine. They do more than wine, though; winemakers here experiment with cider, mead and liqueurs, all under one roof in Devon. 

The speciality at Lyme Bay, of course, is English wine. The estate doesn’t own vineyards yet, but they source extraordinary grapes from the best English growers to craft still and sparkling wines of the highest level. The strategy gives Lyme Bay the flexibility to experiment with new, exciting wine styles without committing to a few varietals. 

Lyme Bay’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are glorious, and so is their Shoreline Rosé. As for sparkling wine, there are many to choose from, but the Classic Cuvée is one of their finest.

3. Chapel Down

Chapel Down is one of the most successful wineries in Kent, and it benefits from the frolicking wine lovers that visit the area to get a taste of the region’s wines. However, the wine is amongst the best English wine, and it’s one of the most popular wines in the UK. 

Chapel Down is England’s leading wine producer. They spearheaded the entire industry in the early 2000s with wines made with 100% UK grapes from the finest vineyards in the Southeast, mainly Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier. These are the grapes used to make sparkling wine Champagne style. 

Today, Chapel Down produces still and sparkling wine of the highest quality, and you’ll often find their collections in the finest restaurants in the country. 

4. Coates & Seely

Coats & Seely is an enthusiastic estate in Hampshire, where the chalky soils share similarities with the one found in Champagne. This allows the winery to grow pristine grapes that become marvellous sparkling wine. 

The state has been running since 2008, and it’s the effort of two friends, Nicholas Coats and Christian Seely. The winery has earned several accolades, including Best Overall Wine in 2017 for its Blanc de Blanc. 

The vineyard and its clay and chalk soils are ideal for ripening grapes with high acidic levels and hints of saline minerality, which translate nicely in the wine. The estate’s flagship wine is Vintage Blanc de Blancs, but the Non-Vintage collection is also terrific. Coats & Seely have done everything right and now reap the benefits of their effort.

5. Ridgeview 

Ridgeview is another pioneering winery in the UK sparkling wine scene; They’ve been producing premium fizz for over 25 years, with grapes from their own vineyards at the heart of Sussex. The family-owned estate was founded in 1995, and they grow Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier to create wines with a minimal intervention approach. 

The grapes are hand-picked and turned into sparkling wine with the Champagne method; the results are lovely. Sustainability is also a big part of Ridgeview’s philosophy, making the estate a leader in the country for its environmental and social practices. 

Ridgeview Bloomsbury is the estate’s most noteworthy wine, along with their robust Blanc de Noirs and their Oak Reserve made exclusively with Chardonnay grapes for the estate’s own vineyards. 

6. Aldwick Estate 

Aldwick Estate has been around since 2013, and they produce great-quality wine in North Somerset. The winery has earned several awards and medals in international competitions, and its wines are highly regarded as some of the most consistent in the country. 

Interestingly, Aldick’s catalogue has many wines made with hybrid grapes, sometimes mixed with vinifera varieties with exciting results. They’re 100% Bacchus is herbaceous and dry, and their Regent and Pinot Noir blend offers beautiful fruit on the nose. 

Other hybrids, including Solaris and Seyval Blanc, also produce satisfactory results. The estate has been transitioning to more vinifera grapes in the past years, promising exciting results. Somerset might become a premium wine region in upcoming years. 

7. Brightwell Vineyard

Not far from the historic city of Oxford, Brightwell Vineyards produces wine in the region’s flinty and chalky soils with spectacular results. The first vineyards in the area were planted in the late 1980s, but the winery came to be in 2000. A few varieties dominate the vineyards: Bacchus, Chardonnay, Huxelrebe, Dornfelder and Pinot Noir, and Brightwell uses them to produce both still and sparkling wine.

Brightwell’s sparkling wine is perhaps the estate’s best-accomplished wine, mainly their affordable Sparkling Vintage Chardonnay. For still wine, a lovely Oxford Flint and an alluring Sauvignon Blanc are highlights in the estate’s catalogue. Red wine is also worth seeking, especially the Pinot Noir. This side of the Thames River is still not known for its wine, but that might change soon. 

8. Bolney Estate 

Bolney Estate is one of the oldest wineries in the country, and they produce some of the best wine in the UK. The winery recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, and they have plenty of reasons to celebrate. The estate’s award-winning red wine is one of the first in the modern UK, with a unique Pinot Noir already produced in the 90s. 

Today Bolney still works with hybrid varieties, including Lychgate Red (similar to Cabernet Franc). They even produce a unique sparkling red. In the sparkling wine category, the Cuvée Noir, the Eighteen Acre Rosé and the Cuvée Rosé are sophisticated, and their more casual Bolney Bubbly is fit for everyday enjoyment. White and pink wines are also well represented in Bolney’s cellars. 

9. Stopham Estate

Stopham Estate is a Sussex winery producing a wide variety of wine styles with modern equipment and an expert team. Simon Woodhead is Stomham’s winemaking director, and he works hand in hand with Adderly Pelly, the estate’s Vineyard Manager. 

The vineyard was planted in 2007 in the region’s sandy soils, and they’re tended sustainably, preserving the region’s biodiversity and environment while still producing premium grapes, source of the best English wine. 

Stopham’s Estate Vintage Sparkling wine spends 24 months on lees, and it shows beautiful citrus aromas. The estate’s Bacchus white wine is also interesting, with hints of tropical fruit over a mineral palate. The winery also offers guided tours, and it’s one of the most popular wine destinations in West Sussex. 

10. Giffords Hall

This family-run winery in Suffolk produces an interesting range of wines with vinifera and hybrid varieties. The vines are planted on an ancient glacial river bead in Suffolk, so the soils are made of poor sands and clay, making the grapes struggle for nutrients, gaining complexity. 

The first vines in the area were planted 25 years ago and included Madeleine Angevine, Bacchus, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and others. Since then, Giffords Hall has gained national and international recognition.

The best wines in Giffords Hall repertoire include a Non-Vintage Brut Reserve, Giffords Hall Classic Cuvée, and the estate’s Non-Vintage Pink Sparkling wine. These are consistent works of art and are amongst the best English wine. This is one of the most popular wine brands in the UK.