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New festival for English wine announced for the autumn

A new one-day festival to celebrate English wine is launching this September.

The brainchild of Francis Gimblett, who runs the Wine Navigator, the fair will take place at Haselmere’s museum and will showcase wines from the neighbouring counties of Hampshire, Sussex and Surrey.

So far, 16 wineries including established names such as Nyetimber, Ridgeview and Stopham are signed up, as are some newer estates such as Ridgeview’s new venture near Chichester – Tin Wood.

Speaking to the drinks business, Gimblett said that the aim of the show is to raise local awareness of English winemaking – particularly those using Champagne and other noble varieties.

“The trade is very excited about it at the moment but after 20 years in the trade I find that none of my friends know that within 30 miles of where they live there are wines being made to an international standard,” he said.

“There’s a movement to understanding local food at the moment but perhaps because of high prices or certain attitudes, English wine isn’t in peoples’ thoughts, only Waitrose are really pushing it.”

Taking place on the 15 September, the show is only taking place between 7pm and 11pm, which Gimblett thought “about right for a first event”.

However, he is keen that it succeeds which allow him to run the event again next year and make it last longer.

“It’s just to gauge the response, a pilot event, and if it’s popular we’ll run it for a day and an evening next time.

“It’s the first year and I want to make it useful for the producers so they come back. I would like to make it bigger and yearly, even if it is just for a day.”

The show will also include local cheeses and any other local produce Gimblett can find in the meantime and all funds raised from the event will go to local charities.

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