Camilla calls for new name for English sparkling wine

10th July, 2013 by Lucy Shaw

The Duchess of Cornwall has suggested that a new name needs to be found in which to better describe English sparkling wine.

The Duchess of Cornwall takes a tour of the 72-hectare Hambledon Vineyard in Hampshire. Credit: Chris Ison/PA

The Duchess of Cornwall takes a tour of the 72-hectare Hambledon Vineyard in Hampshire. Credit: Chris Ison/PA

Speaking at the opening of a new gravity-fed winery at Hambledon Vineyard in Hampshire yesterday, the duchess said: “I think people should put their heads together and think of a new name for English sparkling wine.

“It should have something with much more depth. I plan to find a new word for it.”

Camilla is president of the United Kingdom Vineyards Association.

Her father, Major Bruce Shand, was a vintner, while her grandfather, Philip Morton Shand, wrote a book on winemaking.

Dating back to 1952, the 20-hectare Hambledon Vineyard is England’s oldest commercial vineyard.

12 Responses to “Camilla calls for new name for English sparkling wine”

  1. Ha, ha, ha. I see this is still rumbling on. Here were my thoughts on the matter sometime last year!! http://blog.farehamwinecellar.co.uk/2012/12/28/albion-a-possible-name-for-english-sparkling-wine/ – my vote is for Albion

    • Jamie Lister says:

      A collective name embraced by the consumer would be a powerful asset for English Sparkling Wine. In restaurants, bars and in the home the discussions and the choices made by consumers are for a glass of “Champagne” or “Prosecco” – selection of a brand then follows.
      If English Sparkling Wine can create a collective identity and own a certain style and occasion, this will open the door for it to become a regular choice. A strong category name will not supersede or overpower an individual English Sparkling Wine brand, but rather add to the wine’s authority and give it a reference in the consumer’s mind to support the choice.
      After reading this article, we spent some of today answering The Duchess of Cornwall’s challenge and we have sent our recommendation to the UKVA, with a letter to the Duchess.
      Revisiting the article and reading the comments, we are delighted to discover – after getting over the initial deflation of not being first – that “Albion” already has its supporters.

  2. Respectfully, Ma’am, I disagree! Why do we need it? Everyone is selling well and there appears to be no confusion. Aussie, Californian, South Arican etc etc sparkling wines have no generic term. Prosecco and Cava can never now be premium products vs Champagne – merely low cost substitutes with no particular advantages other than National branding as a resut of their generic approach. Which of course plays straight into the hands of supermarkets and own labels and price being driven downwards. I think its all about brands. I’d certainly rather have a bottle of Veuve Cliquot or Krug or Pol Roger than a bottle of “Champagne”. Worth having the debate though.
    Frazer
    PS And I’m fairly certain you mean 72 acres, not hectares. There’s quite a difference!

    • Tom Stevenson says:

      I agree that we don’t need a new name for English sparkling wine, but I think you made an accidental error, Frazer, by including South Africa in your list, as I am sure you know their fizz is called Cap Classique. Maybe 10 years or so ago there was a good case for avoiding the term “sparkling wine”, but that was when anything with “sparkling” on the label was viewed as cheap and inferior. Since then, however, the quality of sparkling wines produced outside Champagne has improved to such an extent that it is no longer a derogatory term, and much of the credit has to go the buzz in international circles created by the best English sparkling wines. The one thing I think the Duchess could do is not to change the name of the wine, but to lead a battle to the European Courts to change the name of the “Traditional Method” to “Traditional English Method” or “Original English Method” or “Merret’s Method”. Since 1 January 1986 it has been illegal for any wine in the EU to use the term “méthode champenoise” with the singular exception of Champagne, which, of course, doesn’t need the term and seldom uses it (although I have seen it once!), but addition of sugar and a source of yeast to wines that had already fermented once was first recorded by Christopher Merret in 1662, whereas sparkling wine did not appear in Champagne until the 1690s and was produced by a continuation of the first fermentation until as recently as the early 19th century. The so-called “méthode champenoise” is, therefore, a misnomer, but maybe we should be more magnanimous than the champenois and allow them to use the term “Original English Method” (or whatever we decide), if they so wish …

      • Philippe Brun says:

        Choose the name you want ! Nationalism and advertising is now more important than quality ! I blind tasted expensive well noted fizz, completly unknown ones, artificial chateau cashflow too…. The best one is the one you prefer, and not the one someone told you it is good !

  3. How about:

    Blighty Bubbles
    Pom Fizz (not to be confused with Pommes Frites)
    Upper Class-ique
    Parker-Bubbles (named after Camilla)
    Methode Anglaise

    Etc etc

  4. Just another example of allegedly nothing ever gets done unless it is endorsed by, given much exposure or pushed through by a celebrity or an influential high profile person. By the way, whatever happened to Merret? I was lead to believe that was the favourite ‘alternative’ name for English sparkling wine? Perhaps you could ask Pippa for her opinion?

  5. Andi says:

    SHAMPAGNE

  6. Great to see no-one is suggesting ‘Bretagne’ any more! While I agree to some extent with Frazer Thompson, my vote would definitely go with ‘Merret’, which has a certain merit (geddit)? it would certainly please them at Ridgeview, where they already use the term. Elsewhere, Mike Ratcliffe should stop being so frivolous, this is serious; it’s not every day we English get to put one over on the French!

  7. Grant Orchard says:

    Without doubt, a champion name for the grand wines that are coming out of the woodwork in England at long last should be ‘Grand Brittania’.

  8. Grant Orchard says:

    The name ‘ Albion ‘ reminds me of an old woollen mills name. As a New Zealander, we seek good competition as there are not to many out there that can better our Sauvignon Blanc.!.

  9. Barbara Rosson Davis says:

    A suggestion for English Sparkling wines’ new name:
    “English Brutes” — Brisk & sparkling, not always a ‘Brut’. . . These UK Sparklers rival Champagne!

    Label to have a wee cameo portrait of Christopher Merrett– the West Country scientist who made British bubbly,1614, thirty years before Dom Perignon… and, devised a stronger bottle to keep it brisk & sparkling!

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