English sparkler cracks export markets

Sparkling wines from English estate Ridgeview in Sussex are proving a hit abroad, with 30% of the company’s sales now going to export markets.

Ridge

CEO Tamara Roberts reports a “huge increase” in exports in recent years; an encouraging sign for the English sparkling wine industry, which aims to extend its reach beyond Britain and cash in on the kudos of “cool Britannia”.

Tamara in the vineyard

Tamara in the vineyard

Ridgeview’s sparklers are now on sale in 12 different countries around the world, starting with Finland in 2008, shortly followed by Norway. It most recently went on sale in the Caribbean and the estate plans conquer more markets this year.

“Since 2010 we’ve seen our exports rise from 2% with the greatest growth in the last two years, from 14% in 2014 to a projected 30% this year.

“We’ve welcomed five new markets in the last two years alone. Our work with UK Trade and Investment has really supported our growth and our plans for the future are extremely exciting,” Roberts said.

“We’ve worked really hard to make sure we have the right distributors in the markets that share our values and know our expectations.

“When it takes over five years for your product to go from grape to labelled bottle, you have to be careful who looks after your image, and your wines,” she added.

Roberts met with Prime Minister David Cameron and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Liz Truss yesterday to discuss how important it is for the UK drinks industry to remain in the European Union.

Ridgeview has exported to the notoriously tricky US market for the last five years. A new winery is under construction at the estate to enable it to up production of its brut, rosé, blanc de blancs and blanc de noirs.

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