UK: Global warming could make England top wine grower
It's investing heavily in the home wine market now, because if experts are right, climate changes will give Southern England the same temperatures as France's Loire Valley by the end of the decade.
It's Tesco's biggest ever order of English wine. And so high is the quality of this year's English vintage that Tesco has decided to hold an English wine version of the Beaujolais Nouveau run - in reverse.
Instead of bringing Beaujolais Nouveau from France to Britain, Tesco has planned a special high-speed run of the first bottles of English wine to the Tesco store in Calais.
And with global warming improving production still further, the run could quickly become a regular annual event.
Said Tesco wine buyer Alex Anson:"Climatic changes mean that England stands to become one of Europe's top wine producers.
"The French may have to get used to the thought of us making wines which are just as good as theirs."
Working with top English wine producer Three Choirs in Gloucestershire, Tesco is holding the English nouveau run on Monday, Nov 13th at 7am
Some of the 5500 cases of the latest vintage bought by Tesco will leave their Kensington store at midnight, bound for Paris in a vintage Bentley.
Said Tesco's Alex Anson: "Although there are some enthusiastic and well-equipped wineries in this country, English wine has always been held back by a simple fact of nature - the weather's not hot enough.
"This means we have to grow hardier types of grape which make for a distinctive, but not necessarily competitive style of wine. And because yields are small, the wines are more expensive than comparable products from other countries.
"However, if our weather improves, there's no reason why we shouldn't be able to plant the same grapes they use in the Loire. "
" The most obvious difference between English and Beaujolais Nouveau is that the UK version is white.
" This year, the near ideal summer conditions have produced top quality fruit and the wine is tasting extremely well.
" It's great news for us, because we like to buy British as much as possible."
Three Choirs English Nouveau 2000 will be available in 400 UK Tesco stores for £3.99, and 1 in Calais, from Wednesday 15 November.
The doom and gloom of the economic downturn has for many eclipsed the long-term global problem of climate change, at least temporarily. But, writes Chris Losh, wine producers could be facing far great...
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