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What Is The Difference Between British Wine And English Wine?

By Anna Robin (19 Jan 14)
Tags: english wine,british wine,english sparkling wine,difference between english and british wine,english wine restaurants in london,wine drinking guide,guide to english wine,where to buy english wine in london,bottle english wine,denbies wine,chapel down wine,bolney wine,three choirs wine,balfour wine,nyetimber wine,

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“What's in a name? That which we call a rose?

By any other name would smell as sweet;"

Well Shakespeare, you may know a lot about love and tragedy, but you were truly wrong about this.

Names are important. Take the UK wine industry, for example. The wine industry in this country has a serious name problem. You can buy bottles of English wine, and you can buy bottles of British wine.

You may think that English wine and British wine are just two names for the same product. Hold fire there my avid wine drinker, because the two are in fact completely different beasts, infuriating wine producers and confusing drinkers across the land.

Here's a quick tutorial on how to tell your English Pinot Noir (yes, it does exist) from your British red wine.

To put it simply, English wine is made from grapes that are grown in England. English wine is also produced in England too. A little over a decade ago, a good glass of English wine was considered laughable, not admittedly by anyone with a real sense of humour but with someone channeling their inner Frasier Crane. It could definitely raise a snigger.

However, things change, and we now have English sparkling wine, which is rivalling Champagne as the fizz of choice these days. Can you imagine such a thing? It's like an English parmesan cheese or an English chorizo sausage.

The story goes that English wine has moved up in the world and producers such as Chapel Down (Kent vineyards pictured above), Denbies, Balfour, Bolney, and Three Choirs are all gaining many awards. English wine is now being served to fabulous London residents in impressively romantic London restaurants such as The Gilbert Scott at St Pancras Station, Babylon at the Roof Gardens in Kensington, and lots of other notable London establishments.

British wine, on the other hand, is the rather less up-and-coming product for the glitterati of London. British wine is a bottle of plonk that is made from grape concentrate imported into the UK to be bottled here, such as Silver Bay Point.

However while that may not sound that appealing, here comes the selling point for us in austerity Britain. It's cheap and therefore sales are rising. It also has a low alcohol content (which I hear is a selling point for some). Alas, it's hard to find British wine in fabulous London restaurants, so you'll just have to sample it at home.

The problem for the English Wine producers trying to create a high quality wine is being tainted by confused (possibly tipsy) drinkers expecting the English version of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, rather than the wine version of orange juice made from concentrate. For the sake of helping the poor wine drinkers of London, and, of course, for the sake of wine producers, here are some suggested names for differentiating between these two products:

  • Cream tea wine versus builders tea wine
  • Freshly squeezed wine versus cordial wine
  • Martini wine versus vodka Red Bull wine
  • Microbrewed ale wine versus Fosters wine
You get the picture.

I feel these names really highlight the difference between the two products and help educate the people, which is what we at Fluid London are all about. After all, names are important. Would anyone read a review from a website called or possiblefoodpoisoning,com.

There are my helpful suggestion to the UK wine industry, but if you have any of your own, feel free to use the comments box below. UK drinkers need you!

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