You are currently viewing the International Edition. You can also switch to the Hong Kong Edition.
Wednesday 1 July 2015

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!! – 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.
    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:


  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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

If that's interesting, how about these?

Top 10 wines in the UK press

An "epic" Riesling, a "Grecian beauty" that "gobsmacks with opulent tropical more...

Asda warns suppliers of Champagne scam

Asda is warning suppliers to be on guard after several companies received more...

Hardys invests £4m in summer of cricket

Hardys has unveiled a new £4 million consumer marketing campaign to tie in more...

Wimbledon serves up English wine

Organisers of this year’s Wimbledon have decided to offer tennis fans English more...

Nyetimber partners with Ben Ainslie Racing

English sparkling wine producer Nyetimber has signed a three-year partnership more...

Oregon producer takes international view

One of Oregon’s youngest wine estates has partnered with Jackson Family Wines more...

Plumpton College principal awarded OBE

Mr Des Lambert, Principal of Plumpton College since 2003, has been awarded an more...

Pimm's and English wine sales leap

UK supermarket Waitrose has noted a surge in sales for Pimm's, strawberries and more...

WW1 Scotch to be auctioned

A bottle of Scotch whisky purportedly belonging to a soldier in the First World more...

Warehouse Supervisor

London, United Kingdom

£27,000-£30,000 depending on experience

Lidl hints at plans for online wine shop

UK supermarket Lidl has not ruled out launching an online wine shop, reporting more...

Flavoured styles lead drinks NPD

A new report from Nielsen shows that flavoured variants are dominating more...

UK market in growth as price increases slow

The latest figures from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association show that more...

Social Media Editor


Top wine students receive awards

Students taking degree courses in Wine Business and Wine Production at Plumpton more...

Tesco sales take a tumble despite price cuts

Tesco's like-for-like sales fell by 1.3% in the three months to 30 May, an more...

Is powder the future of food?

A powdered food brand has launched in the UK that aims to change the way people more...

Marketing and eCommerce Manager

London, United Kingdom

Competitive, includes equity options

Top 10 London rooftop bars

London's many rooftop bars offer not only an opportunity to get away from the more...

Diageo closes in on £200m Gleneagles deal

Drinks giant Diageo is reportedly “close” to agreeing a sale of its luxury more...

Top 10 wines in the UK press

An English fizz fit for Wimbledon, a "chunky, berry-stuffed" Negroamaro and a more...

Digital and Communications Executive

£22,000-£26,000 dependent on experience

Final call for Liberty apprentice scheme

Liberty Wines is inviting final applications for its apprentice programme, more...

Burgundian négociant celebrates gin smuggler

Burgundian négociant, Vallet Frères, has allowed a special bottling of more...