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March 2024 Talk

March 12th . Growing Grapes & Wine Making in England - Jonathan Rogers. English wine is in the ascendency: we learned how and why.

Our March talk was on a subject close to the heart of many members - a good glass of wine!

Wine expert Jonathan Rogers presented his talk “Growing Grapes & Wine Making in England.”

Jonathan has spent 30 years in the business, Founder of The Hampshire Vineyards group and organiser of the Hampshire Vineyards Wine Festival. A former manager at Wickham Vineyard he now has his own wine shop in Emsworth.

He ran through the history of the rise of English wine from the time of the Domesday book (1086) when there were 42 record vineyards in the England through a low following the Destruction of the Monasteries (1536) and their growth to around 503 today. Most are in the southernmost counties - Kent to Cornwall - with Hampshire making a large contribution. Interestingly Sussex has acquired Protected Denomination of Origin (PDO) status for its wine so watch out for that “bottle of Sussex” when out shopping!

The last 5 years has seen a 70% increase in the hectarage of vineyards and Jonathan detailed the factors needed to ensure good growth in England, from the soil and site conditions to even methods of pruning.  English wines are exported to Norway, USA, Canada, and Australia and others but jokingly he added that he thought it would be a while until the French sold English wine in Paris!

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