It’s one of the trickier decisions I’ve had to make so far during the Grape Britannia adventure – do I change all the copy that refers to “English wines” now that I am stocking Welsh wines too?
At the start of everything, I had debates, both with myself and those with more useful opinions, about which way to go. English wines, English & Welsh wines and British wines were all on the metaphorical table.
British wines was first to be dismissed, although in some respects it would be the natural phrase. But as many of you will know, British wines are a very different beast from the wines that Grape Britannia stock. The term refers to wines that are made in Britain, but from imported grape juice concentrate. These wines are typically found on the shelves of supermarkets such as Asda and The Co-op, are usually at the sweeter end of the spectrum and, to be blunt, a much lower quality and price point than English wines.
So, English and Welsh wines. The problem, ultimately, was that it felt too long and clunky to bear repeating multiple times across our copy. And where do we go once we start stocking Scottish wines?? So, English wines it was.
It didn’t really matter at first, since the first 100+ wines that we decided to stock were all English. But then I came across some Welsh wines that I just had to have. Wandering around London Wine Fair 2019, I came across the jovial Robb Merchant of White Castle Vineyard, who was pouring samples of their still wine range. When I tried their 2018 Pinot Noir I was hugely excited – a great expression of this fabulous vintage in a classic Burgundian style, with excellent depth and balance. Then I sampled the 2017 Pinot Noir and was absolutely blown away. Ethereal but complex, with layers of raspberry, cherry, strawberry, vanilla and some smoky toast washing around the mouth in an entrancing interplay – far more interesting and satisfying than many a Burgundy at this price!
Grape Britannia is delighted to be stocking these Pinots, together with their Regent and Siegerrebe siblings. However, our copy will remain the same, for reasons of readability. Sorry Robb, I hope that you can forgive us!
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