British winegrowers bet on producing their own ‘Beaujolais’ wine

Global warming benefits British vineyards as harvests increase in the heat.

“With climate change there are winners and losers, and I think our situation will be better overall,” says Simon Day, winegrower at Sixteen Ridges winery.

A drier climate and more hours of sunshine make the fruit ripen faster and allow farmers to experiment with grape varieties rarely grown on British soil, until now. Meanwhile, the winemakers are trying to compete with their European counterparts.

“After the harvest we press the grapes. Let’s go! Now you can start to glimpse the wine,” explains Day to the Euronews correspondent.

For Simon Day, it is not all about rising temperatures. A biochemist by training, he traveled the world to study the different winemaking techniques.

“The fact of having been trained as a biochemist helps me in making wine. It is very useful if things start to go wrong. But there are basically two essential things that you rely on. One is the nose, the smell. And the other the palate, the taste, “adds Simon Day.

The production of their ‘Beaujolais’ style wine is different from that using traditional carbonic maceration methods, which keeps the juice inside the grape, and speeds up the fermentation process.

“We are one of the few winegrowers who will benefit from earlier maturation,” says the biochemist.

The result of the winery’s work has yielded 2,500 bottles of British ‘Beaujolais’ from grapes grown this summer.

“Here, the pace of climate change can be summed up by looking at apples and grapes. At one point, the apple was the only fruit that grew on this farm in Herefordshire. It now ripens three weeks earlier. As conditions deteriorate to apples are better for grapes, “says Luke Hanrahan, UK correspondent for Euronews.

There is evidence of vine cultivation in the area for several centuries. Historical documents prove that farmers were already caring for vines in the 1200s. Wine is not new to the UK, but Pinot Noir strains are now grown there.

“The generally warm climate will benefit our regions. In the coming decades, we will see grape cultivation moving further north. In southern Europe they will have to struggle with very high levels of sugar and quality of the wine they can make with their different grape varieties “, Simon Day concludes.

For British vintner Simon Day, his best red wine is the result of the hottest summer on record in the northern hemisphere so far. Little by little, he intends to become a reference and who knows if, one day, he will be able to challenge the French ‘Beujolais’.