Sparkling wine does not just have to be Champagne. This is simply the name given to sparkling wine grown in a particular area of France (elsewhere it can be called anything from Cava to Prosecco). You don’t have to drink sparkling wine from flutes, nor keep it chilled (this can make it go flat as the cork will make carbonation escape). So store them sideways in a cupboard(away from light) to let the cork stay damp with a tight seal, and say cheers to some English bubblies!
England grows plenty of its own sustainable sparkling wines. Buy organic sparkling wines that are vegan-friendly, as many wines are filtered using bone char or isinglass (from fish bladders).
Look for brands stoppered with real cork. Cork is a natural material that does not require trees to be chopped down (the bark is simply stripped every few years). Keeping the cork industry alive helps protect Mediterranean forests in a sea of plastic wine corks, which in turns help native wildlife.
You don’t have to remove labels to recycle wine bottles. Corks are choking hazards, so drop them off at local shops and off-licenses for recycling.
- Wild Life Botanicals (Cornwall) is a pioneering sparkling wine with low alcohol. Sold in bottles or cans, it was developed by a specialist team including a naturopath and medical herbalist. Less than 35 calories per glass, it contains lemon balm, damask rose, rosemary, damiana and ashwagandha (not for pregnancy/nursing, thyroid issues or certain medications and hormonal cancers- check with your doctor).
- Adgestone Vineyard (Isle of Wight) makes local sparkling wines in a secluded 10-acre vineyard with sea views. Using locally foraged fruits and flowers, this is England’s only sparkling blue wine! Created by a bored tax lawyer and her eccentric engineer husband.
- Oxney River Cottage Sparkling Wine (East Sussex) is a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc grapes. This has a mousse of tiny bubbles, with a naturally cloudy finish.
- Davenport Vineyards (East Sussex) offers a sparkling rosé made from a blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir. This is lovely chilled, on a warm summer day.