UK: Waitrose to launch English sparkling wines
UK supermarket Waitrose is to launch its own English sparkling wine sourced from vineyards to be planted on the company's farm in Hampshire.
The vines will be planted in 2009 on The Leckford Estate, a 4,000 acre farm owned by parent company The John Lewis Partnership which produces a variety of foods for the supermarket. The first sparkling wines will be on sale by 2014.
Waitrose said the "gently rolling chalk hills" on the farm had several sites with the right soils and southerly aspect, making them suitable for vine growing, and geologically similar to Champagne or Chablis.
The project has been established after Waitrose reported a 90% increase in sales of English wines during 2007. "To ensure our customers can continue to enjoy English wine in the future, we are investing now to cope with future growth," the company said.
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