English Wine Week runs until May 31 with events and tastings in vineyards around the country (englishwineweek.co.uk).
Most English vineyards focus on white and sparkling wines. The chalky soil of the South-East allows classic grape varieties used in Champagne, such as chardonnay and pinot noir, to flourish, and some of the bubbly has bagged international awards.
The latest fizz on the podium is a white pinot brut from Camel Valley vineyard in Cornwall, which was runner-up to Champagne Bollinger in a global sparkling wine competition in Italy at the end of 2008. The Lindo family make it from red grapes, using all their flavour with none of the colour (camelvalley.com).
To celebrate English Wine Week, Marks & Spencer is promoting three new English wines from the Chapel Down winery in Kent, including a light and fruity English Rosé 2008 (£9.99) made from a blend of the rondo, shonberger, pinot noir, bacchus and huxelrebe grape varieties and a fresh and crisp 100 per cent White Bacchus 2008 (£9.99).