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Americans coin new name for English sparkling

While the producers of English sparkling wine have been debating about a suitable brand name for their increasingly-popular product, the Americans have already chosen a term – and it may become protected.

As featured on the British Bottle Company’s Twitter feed on 5 January, having captured the term ‘British Fizz’ at the Jones Wood pub in New York city

At the UKVA’s reception and dinner in London last night, Sam Lindo, who is chairman of the association, said that he believed consumers should decide on what to call sparkling wine from England, rather than the trade selecting a name, and then trying to get others to adopt it.

Continuing, he said that one New York outlet had already coined it’s own term – ‘British Fizz’ – and, he added, it’s this brand name that English wine producers should consider using.

Later on in the evening, during a discussion with the drinks business, Sam’s father, Bob Lindo, who founded Camel Valley in Cornwall, said that he was now working on registering the term British Fizz as a protected designation of origin (PDO).

He added that he knew exactly what to do, pointing out that he has already written the necessary documentation for obtaining a PDO, having secured the UK’s only PDO for a single vineyard, with ‘Darnibole’ – which is now an officially recognised name for a plot planted with Bacchus on the Camel Valley estate.

Continuing, he told db that he would be working towards registering three terms in the PDO application he was currently writing, which are as follows:

• British Fizz
• British Sparkling
• Wine from Great Britain

Although he said that he was compiling the PDO documentation, he said that he would pass on the forms to the UKVA to register the terms.

He also said that he thought that British Fizz should be adopted for sparkling wine made from grapes grown anywhere in Great Britain, using any grape variety approved by the OIV, and that the term should be used only for sparkling wine made in the ‘traditional method’, where the second fermentation occurs in the bottle.

The term ‘British Fizz’ first featured on Twitter on 5 January in a picture posted by The British Bottle Company, which captured the drinks list at the Jones Wood pub in New York city, which carries sparkling wine from English producers Bolney Estate, Camel Valley and Digby (see image above).

Responding to the tweet, Sam Lindo said, “There you have it, it’s called British Fizz”.

His father, Bob, said last night that the description used in the US was simple and an obvious choice, and, having recently taken part in a trade mission to the US to promote Camel Valley, commented, “Despite us describing our product as English sparkling wine, the Americans just remember it as being British, and fizz.”

The Duchess of Cornwall, who is president of the UKVA, has suggested that a new name needs to be found to better describe English sparkling wine. Here she is pictured with Camel Valley’s Bob Lindo. Picture source: Camel Valley

For the past five years there have been mounting calls for producers of English sparkling wine to select and register a brand name for their product, in the same way that Spain has Cava and France has Champagne.

Suggestions from winemakers in the UK have ranged from Britagne – combining the words Britannia and Champagne – to Merret, in honour of English scientist Dr Christopher Merret, who was the first person to document the deliberate addition of sugar to produce sparkling wine.

However, as yet, no-one has been able to agree on one name to register, even though The Duchess of Cornwall, who is president of the UKVA, has commented that a new name needs to be found to better describe English sparkling wine.

Finally, it should be noted that the term ‘British Wine’ refers to wine made in Great Britain from imported grape juice concentrate, while ‘English Wine’ and ‘Welsh Wine’ are the protected terms for wine made and grown in England and Wales respectively.


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