We’re all feeling a bit sore after last night’s England match against Uruguay. Millions of hopeful fans (myself included) piled into pubs, bars and living rooms across the England to watch our beloved national team suffer at the hands of a country with a population the size of central London’s.
(I’m not making it up – Uruguay’s population is around one-twentieth of England’s. At just 3.4 million, it is miniscule compared to England’s 53 million. But I should move swiftly on before I reveal too much of my demography nerdiness).
Last night’s debacle forced me to reflect on England’s skill set as a nation. We are pretty hopeless at international football, summer sunshine and EU politics. I’m going to wave my flag at this point by pointing out that we’re pretty good at queuing, drinking tea and hosting international sporting events (the Olympics two years ago was great and Wimbledon is always brilliant – in spite of the aforementioned lack of sunshine).
Wine production doesn’t tend to spring to mind as one of England’s strong points. In fact, many people are not even aware that England produces wine to begin with.
According to a report by the industry representatives, 2.5 million bottles of wine are produced annually. While a range of grape varieties are planted, the clear leaders are chardonnay and pinot noir (each comprising of roughly a fifth of the total). The focus is on bubbly – the majority of English wine is sparkling – and Sussex, Kent and Hampshire lead the way in terms of production. In spite of the positive indicators, however, English wine sales remain low – constituting just 0.25% of wine sales in the UK. Many believe that this trend is set to change.
While England’s future in the 2014 World Cup looks rather bleak, we aren’t out yet. I plan to watch Tuesday’s match against Costa Rica with a glass of English fizz – whether or not we get through to the next round, we should toast to our team’s efforts, our two goals so far, and our valiant attempt to break into the wine industry. Some of it is pretty good, you know.
In Grapeful’s Wine World Cup, England is represented by this beauty from Hampshire.
This is summer in a glass, with delicious red berry fruits, a swirl of creamy richness and a refreshing streak of lemon acidity. The vineyards are set in the picturesque village of Somborne in the Test Valley.