Grape Britain: Exports of English wine have doubled – but will it last post-Brexit?

The launch of high-end cuvées from the likes of Coates & Seely are positioned to penetrate a luxury market that has long been owned by Champagne.

The Telegraph: Victoria Moore

According to Wine GB, the future of the English wine industry has never looked rosé-er. But how are things looking on the ground?

Coates and Seely English Wine vineyard

Wine GB had some good news for us this morning. Exports of English wine have more than doubled in a year, rising from 256,000 bottles in 2018 to 550,000 bottles in 2019, which accounts for 10 per cent of all bottles sold, according to new figures released through the Department of Trade and Industry.

The data also shows that English wine is extending its global influence. It is now poured in 40 countries around the world, including the US, which is the primary export market, Norway, and Japan, which accounted for 6 per cent of exports in 2019.

“This is an exciting time for the English wine industry, as exports and e-commerce grow strongly and higher production helps the sector recover from coronavirus,” said Minister for Exports Graham Stuart. But how are things really looking down on the ground? The English and Welsh wine industry has certainly come an excitingly long way in a short time.

Seven years ago I accompanied a band of English wine producers to Dusseldorf where they were exhibiting at Prowein, the world’s largest wine trade fair. It was an early international brand-building exercise, a chance to show sommeliers and the rest of the world’s wine trade that English wine was not just a curiosity but something they might want to buy.

Most of the comments from those who tried it were positive, but many passers-by also registered wry surprise: “Do you grow the vines in greenhouses?” asked one. It wasn’t clear whether he was joking.

English wine is now better known and has passed some important milestones.

Producers are rightly proud of sparkling wines that have won places on the wine lists of Michelin-starred restaurants in France, while the launch of high-end cuvées from the likes of Coates & Seely are positioned to penetrate a luxury market that has long been owned by Champagne, elevating the reputation of the whole industry in the process.

English wine cuvees

But if the story of English wine is one of rapid expansion and a promising track record of individual successes it is still very early days.

Producers agree that English wine has much to do in terms of consolidating and growing its reputation. “Exports currently represent 15-20 per cent of our current releases and we hope to grow that,” says Mark Driver, co-founder and joint owner of Rathfinny Estate in Sussex.

“So a lot of work is required over the next few years. Although ‘Exporting is Great’, as the government likes to tell us, we will need financial support from the government to build brand awareness overseas.

“At the moment we’re all working collaboratively to promote the sector but it needs serious investment, probably more than we can collectively afford, to build the ‘English Wine’ brand. The UK government needs to invest some of the excise duty they get when we sell our wine in the UK, to help us build the brand overseas.”

Mark Harvey, the CEO of Kent producer Chapel Down, echoes this note of caution and the need for investment: “The early momentum is there [for exports of English sparkling wine] but it’ll take investment and collaboration across the industry to unlock.” He identifies the US as, “the standout opportunity of scale – a large champagne market where Brand Britain is well received – and the early results are positive.”

Production of English and Welsh wine has risen sharply in the last couple of years, partly as a result of new vineyard plantings reaching maturity and partly as consequence of vintage variation. In 2018, a record-breaking year, enough grapes were picked to make 13.11m bottles of wine, up from 5.9m in 2017, 4.15m in 2016 and 5.06m in 2015. The most recent 2019 harvest was also ample, with a production equivalent to 10.5m bottles.

Higher production figures are both an opportunity and a concern. In previous years, attempts to build export markets have been hampered by a lack of wine to sell. But there are also fears that such a sharp increase could lead to an over-supply when the sparkling wine comes to market, which is typically around three years after harvest.

Needless to say, in 2020 there are additional challenges. The choppy waters caused by Covid-19 and the uncertainty and potential costs of Brexit are not easy to navigate. Many English wine producers have built high-end reputations around dining out and the “season” – events such as horse-racing and tennis – and this sector has been badly hit by the year’s closures. “This situation has turned everything I knew about building a brand on its head,” says one producer who is now re-evaluating the next move.

If this year has taught us anything, it’s that you can’t see what’s coming round the next corner. But wine producers in Britain will be hoping for post-Brexit deals that don’t just put a fair wind behind exports but which also enable them to import the equipment and labour they need to keep production running smoothly and costs at an affordable level.”

Coates and Seely's Sparkling Wines

The best English Sparkling Wines to buy directly from vineyards

The Telegraph: Victoria Moore

At a time when a glass of wine is one of the few pleasures we can all still rely on, getting hold of the stuff has become almost as hard as buying a bottle of Dettol anti-bacterial spray. Do not lose hope…

Many of the smaller independent wine merchants up and down the country have begun making local deliveries (and some of them are free) – give your nearest a call and see what they can do.

And don’t forget that England now has its own thriving wine industry. In many cases you can buy English wine online direct from the vineyard and have it delivered to your doorstep. Here’s my pick of the sparkling English wines.

I highly recommend Coates & Seely, a Hampshire producer. Coates & Seely Brut Reserve NV – a sparkling wine made from all three champagne grapes, chardonnay (40%), pinot noir (50%) and pinot meunier (10%) is on absolutely top form at the moment and an absolute steal at the price (£31.95 per bottle, £364.23 per case of 12 and £8 delivery per consignment).

Stock up before everyone else realizes what a good buy it is (and how much they will need to get through the summer).

Best English Sparkling Wine to buy direct

Best English Sparkling Wine to buy direct

At the beginning of Lockdown The Telegraph’s Wine Correspondent Victoria Moore recommended Coates & Seely in the Luxury Living section in a feature about the best English sparkling wines to buy directly from vineyards.

At Coates & Seely we produce some of the best English sparkling wines.  The wines are not only of the highest quality but they are authentic to our own English ‘terroir’ – and could not be made by any other.  Although our Hampshire vineyard is planted, as in Champagne vineyards, with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grape varieties our wines reflect our land, our values and our families.

Award-Winning Wines

For this reason, we restrict our productive capacity and focus instead on perfecting our craft in an unending pursuit of excellence, guided only by quality.  The first sparkling wine we produced, our Blanc de Blancs 2009 Vintage ‘La Perfide’ made from Chardonnay grapes has won Trophies and Gold Medals in almost every major international wine competition.So, whilst our sparkling wines, such as our gold medal winning Brut Reserve NV, are listed in some of the most iconic destinations in the world (including the Four Seasons, ‘Alain Ducasse’ at the Dorchester, The Ivy, The Fat Duck, The Savoy, Annabel’s, The George V and Le Bristol in Paris, Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace, Spencer House, Tate Modern & Britain, The Royal Academy) you won’t find them in the supermarket aisles.

We are proud to sell our best sparkling wine directly from the cellar door to our private clients.

Whilst we are currently not open to the public and unable to welcome visitors in person to our Hampshire vineyard and winery we are very much still open. Ensuring that our valued friends and customers can order some of the best English sparkling wine the country has to offer through our online shop or by phone.

English sparkling wines 2020

Following vintage harvest years and many international wine awards won recently by the best English sparkling wines, 2020 is set to be an interesting year for the industry.

Many wine connoisseurs have taken advantage of their ‘down-time’ during lockdown to try out the best English Sparkling Wines now widely available directly from the vineyards.

It is also reassuring to see an increasing number of independent wine retailers that now stock some of the best English sparkling wine from English vineyards in Hampshire, Kent and West Sussex.

Support local vineyards

The events of this year have also resulted in a new focus on products of a more local origin and the desire to support more local vineyards.  Where wine drinkers may select the best English fizz rather than sparkling produce from other nations. 

The younger wine-drinking audience, perhaps more restrained in their consumption than previous generations, are choosing quality over quantity and often choosing the best English sparkling over a cheaper alternative from overseas.

Buying direct from the vineyard is a great way to support your local English wine producer. 

Our loyal customers and those signed up to our Private List can also receive information on our latest cuvees, news from our Hampshire vineyard and discounts on some of the best English sparkling wine available today.

Whether you are looking for the ‘gossamer light construction, pale colour and scents of rose-hips and strawberry of our Rosé NV.  Or the ‘Elegant hawthorn and acacia, impressive mousse and green apple freshness’ of our Brut Reserve.  

The Coates & Seely team are always working hard to ensure our range of award winning Sparkling Wines are available to order direct from our vineyard in Hampshire for delivery to your door.

best english sparkling wine

How English sparkling wine became chic-er than Champagne


When is Champagne not Champagne? When it’s English, of course. A luxury English Champagne rival. As Nyetimber releases the most expensive English sparkling wine to date at £150 for its 2009 vintage and £175 for its 2010 sparkling rosé, Jonathan Ray explores the surprising rise of top-quality bubbly from Blighty and suggests a few of the best alternatives to Champagne…

During a long and very enjoyable interval on Glyndebourne’s sun-dappled lawn, my hosts and I tuck into home-made smoked salmon terrine on a bed of watercress, washed down with an exceptional bottle of well-chilled fizz. “What an evening,” sighs my neighbour. “What a wonderful opera, a fabulous picnic and a glorious Champagne!”

Luxury English Champagne

Amen to all that. Except, of course, it isn’t Champagne: it’s a bottle of Ambriel Blanc de Noirs from Redfold Vineyards, set deep in the rolling downland of West Sussex. Made from 100 per cent pinot noir and grown in the shadow of Chanctonbury Ring’s fabled Iron-Age fort, this is a wonderful wine, aged for three years on the lees before being disgorged.

It’s toasty and honeyed with subtle hints of lemon ’n’ lime and just a touch of white peach: utterly delicious and as good a fizz as you’ll find for £29.50 a pop. The front label has nothing but seven words on it: Ambriel Blanc de Noirs, Product of England. ’Nuff said, for the fact is that English sparkling wine is now taken very seriously indeed. What was once infra dig is now de rigueur.

English sparkling wine is now a respected global player

There are more than 300 wineries in the UK today, drawing on fruit from 470 vineyards stretching from Kent to Cornwall and Norfolk to North Wales. A couple of vineyards are even to be found in Yorkshire. In total these produced almost 4.45 million bottles of still and sparkling wine last year.

Champagne grape varieties

Vineyard acreage has increased by 140 per cent in the last 10 years to almost 2,275 hectares, most now used to grow the three traditional Champagne grape varieties of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. Two-thirds of English wine is sparkling and about three million bottles of it is produced, more than all the sparkling wine imported from the US, New Zealand, Chile, South Africa and Argentina put together. There is no doubt that quality sparkling wine is where England’s future lies.

Bizarre as it might sound, it is a US couple, Stuart and Sandy Moss, who should be thanked for much of this. Stuart, a manufacturer of medical and dental equipment in Chicago, and Sandy, an antique dealer and archaeologist, founded the Nyetimber wine estate near Pulborough in Sussex, in their retirement. They realised that the soil and climate there were almost identical to those of Champagne and decided both to plant the classic Champagne varieties (rather than the Germanic hybrids then favoured by many winemakers) and to make their wines in the Champagne method with a secondary fermentation in the bottle.

Luxury English Champagne

Ambriel Blanc de Noirs; Nyetimber Classic Cuvée, Herbert Hall Brut Rosé

There have been other trailblazers, but Nyetimber has done more than most to put English sparkling wine on the map. Its first vintage in 1992 stunned the critics with its dazzling quality, and famously came top of a blind tasting of sparkling wines and Champagnes in Paris. Current owner Eric Heerema has taken the Nyetimber to new heights.

There is, by the way, an important distinction between English and British wine. English (or Welsh) wine is made in the UK from fresh grapes grown in England (or Wales); British wine is unspeakable muck made in the UK from imported grapes or grape concentrate. It is best avoided.

In the past 20 years, England has won 12 international trophies for best sparkling wine in top global competitions, more than any other country, including France. Not bad, eh? Nicholas Hall of Herbert Hall vineyards in Marden, Kent, puts this down to several factors: better growing conditions (it’s as warm in south east England as it was in Champagne 20-plus years ago), greater investment, a crop of talented young winemakers (thanks largely to the excellent winemaking courses at Plumpton College in Sussex), better label and bottle design and the support of a new generation of top sommeliers, keen to list English fizz.

“Ultimately, though, it’s all about quality,” says Hall. “And I fervently believe that England has the potential to be internationally renowned as the embodiment of cool-climate winemaking excellence.”

Coates & Seely Rosé; Ridgeview sparkling wine; Chapel Down Vintage Reserve Brut

Christian Seely agrees. Seely’s day job is MD of AXA Millésimes, the vineyard-owning arm of AXA Insurance, where he oversees such tip-top estates as Quinta do Noval in one of the best wine regions to visit by luxury yacht, Portugal’s Douro Valley, Château Pichon Longueville in Pauillac, Bordeaux region and Château Suduiraut near Sauternes. And yet the only place Seely wanted to plant his own vines was in England, specifically Hampshire. He did so with his friend Nicholas Coates and their Coates & Seely wines are now stocked in the UK’s finest merchants, restaurants and hotels. They are even stocked in the George V and Hotel Le Bristol in Paris, which must say something about their quality, not to mention the discerning judgment of the Parisians.

“In southern England we have sites that have the geological make-up necessary to make great wines,” says Seely. “I truly believe it is possible to make sparkling wines in England that can rival the best the rest of the world has to offer. And I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.”

Luxury English Sparkling Rosé

Nor would Wendy Outhwaite – producer, with husband Charles, of that Ambriel – be here. Wendy gave up a hugely successful career at the Bar to make English wine. “We were not interested in doing a knock-off ‘sham-pagne’, but in doing something distinctively English and excellent in its own right,” she says. “All the wines from our first harvest have won international medals and people seem to love them. There’s no doubt it’s a dynamic and exciting time to be making English sparkling wine.”

It’s an exciting time to be drinking it too. As I knock back the last of my Ambriel, I glance at the next table and see there a couple of bottles of Ridgeview, whose vines are a mere cork-pop from here. Nearby I notice, too, a bottle of Nyetimber in an ice bucket. English sparkling wine: out and proud.

English Sparkling to rival Champagne

Searching for a luxury English fizz to rival Champagne?

Whilst Champagne is commonly used as a catch-all term for Luxury Sparkling wine, the term Champagne is protected under appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) or designation of origin and refers only to French Sparkling Wine from the Champagne region of France. Champagne is made in accordance with Champagne viticultural regulations based on traditional growing techniques that promote quality.  So when searching for English Champagne the term most commonly used by the English winemakers is English Sparkling Wine. The best of which will be made, like champagne, using the traditional method with a second fermentation in bottle.

Although English Sparkling Wine is a relative newcomer when you think how long the great vineyards in Europe have been producing wine the quality of English wines is already excellent. As stated in a recent luxury magazine article on the rise of English Sparkling “Step aside, champagne—English sparkling wine can rival the best in the world, with its distinctive terroir and character impressing critics and connoisseurs”.

At Coates & Seely the philosophy on winemaking has always been to produce a terroir wine which is an ultimate expression of the chalky slopes of the Hampshire vineyard. 

English Sparkling trumps Champagne at competitions and tastings

English Sparkling Wine can now often be seen beating other bottle fermented sparkling wines from around the world see for example Coates & Seely’s award winning 2009 Vintage ‘La Perfide’ at the IWSC 2019.

So too, in blind tasting competitions an English Sparkling Wine may now beat a French Champagne.

Vintage champagnes are made from the highest selection of the ripest and smallest yields grown on the best sites and only from exceptional quality harvests.

The world class sparkling wine from English wine producers like Coates & Seely comes from deliberately aiming for the lower – but essentially – better quality yields. Coates & Seely are able to achieve the same kind of equilibrium of ripeness and acidity that one might find for example in Champagne but in order to do so we work on a much smaller yield than they do in Champagne.

English Sparkling Wine replaces Champagne at the top tables

In recent years due to the increasing reputation of English Sparkling Wine it is now the favoured Sparkling Wine in many important venues (take for example the well-publicized presence of English Sparkling Wine at 10 Downing Street, at state banquets at Buckingham Palace and Coates & Seely’s own prominent presence in all the Historic Royal Palaces. The English fizz continues to flow at all the best luxury events such as Glyndebourne, the Grand National, Royal Ascot and the Boat Race.

It’s no coincidence some of the most prestigious Champagne houses are now buying or planting English vineyards and selling luxury English Champagne under their Champagne house label.

Bankers-Turned-Winemakers Are Transforming England Into Wine Country

Bloomberg: Thomas Buckley & Eric Pfanner

Nicholas Coates doesn’t miss the commute. In the latter years of his investment banking career, which he left at the age of 47 after working at Royal Bank of Scotland and ING Barings, he’d catch the 5:41 a.m. train to London and arrive back at his manor house in the Hampshire countryside around 10:30 p.m. Now Coates, 60, just walks through the rose garden between his home and the bucolic headquarters of Coates & Seely, a maker of English sparkling wine that he co-founded to take on Champagne at its own game. 

It’s a calling that beckons a growing number of financiers. Bankers, hedge fund managers, and corporate lawyers are quitting London’s financial sector for England’s burgeoning vineyards. They’re buying up land in Kent, Sussex, and Hampshire and planting grapes among fields once reserved for wheat or cattle.

The path from rainmaker to winemaker is well-traveled. Historically, financiers fled to the châteaux of Bordeaux, the rolling hills of Tuscany, or sunny Napa Valley. So when Coates began telling friends and family in 2007 of his ambition to challenge Champagne in his wet and gray backyard, there wasn’t a great deal of enthusiasm. His father likened the venture to building a car in North Korea and going up against Rolls-Royce.

English winemaker Nicholas Coates of Coates & Seely

Since then, English wine has changed from a novelty or joke into a serious contender. In 2019, Coates & Seely’s sparkling 2009 La Perfide—named for “perfidious Albion,” an 18th century French playwright’s characterization of Britain—beat out French rivals to win a trophy at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in London, sometimes called the Oscars of Alcohol.
“I wouldn’t want people to think that it’s easy, because it’s phenomenally hard work,” Coates says in his living room, where the walls are hung with unsmiling portraits of his family’s bewigged ancestors. “A lot of our blood, sweat, and tears went into this.”

The unusually hot summer of 2018 encouraged more producers to join the fray. For all its dangerous downsides, global warming also makes it possible to regularly ripen grapes at latitudes once considered marginal for cultivation. Overall output of wine in England and Wales increased to 13.2 million bottles in 2018, from 5 million in 2015, according to trade body Wine GB. The area under vine has risen 83% since 2015, to more than 8,800 acres.

Vintners have focused on sparkling wine because the English growing regions’ chalky soil is similar to that of Champagne, and producers of one of France’s signature luxury products have responded.
For the likes of Vranken-Pommery and Taittinger, producing in England is a way to hedge bets and protect a key market no matter what happens with Brexit. The U.K. is Champagne’s biggest export outlet, with 27 million bottles shipped in 2018, according to trade organization Comité Champagne. That’s more than double the total production of wine in England and Wales, most of which is consumed domestically.

“The U.K. has historically been the shop window for the world, in that Champagne producers want their wines showcased here, where there is established demand,” says Davy Zyw, sparkling wine buyer at merchant Berry Brothers & Rudd. “But there’s a finite volume for vintage Champagne, and we’ve got a quality product that’s homegrown and can compete at that level.”
Demand for British wine has been fueled by greater availability at retailers such as upmarket grocer Waitrose, which carries more than 100 choices, as well as at pubs and restaurants.

Chalk terroir similar to that of champagne

Winemakers are often motivated by convivial factors beyond the bottom line. In October 2007, a year after retiring from a career building high-yield debt markets in Europe, Coates flew with his family from London to Bordeaux to visit Christian Seely, a friend who was already in the wine business. Coates had known Seely since their days studying at Insead business school near Paris.

The Englishmen stayed up drinking fine wine and watching their home country lose to South Africa in that year’s Rugby World Cup final. In the early hours, Seely opened a second bottle of Pol Roger Champagne, uttering a maxim variously attributed to Napoleon or Winston Churchill: “In victory one deserves it. In defeat, one needs it.”

The best place to drink English Sparkling Wine

It was then that Coates suggested planting vines in the south of England. To his surprise, it turned out that Seely, who heads the management of about a dozen prized vineyards around the world owned by French insurer AXA, had been trying to sell a similar business proposal to his stepfather. They hired talented winemakers from Champagne to help them bottle a range of wines that now start at £31.95 ($42) per bottle.

“You need to learn from someone, just like the Romans did from the Greeks,” Coates says, slipping into navy velvet slippers to stoke a crackling fire. “For us, the Champenois are the Greeks, and we aspire, one day, to be the Romans.”
Because of the similarities between Champagne’s terroir and the English turf, there’s a “huge value delta” between the two regions, Coates says. A hectare (about 2.5 acres) of vineyard in Champagne can cost more than €1 million ($1.1 million), 10 or 20 times the cost of a similarly sized plot in England.

Still, would-be investors must take a long view: Coates & Seely took about eight years to break even. After securing key accounts in the U.K., including the Jockey Club, a horse-racing consortium, and the Historic Royal Palaces, Coates wants to build his sparkling wine brand on the international stage. It’s already gained a foothold in key Parisian battlegrounds such as the George V Hotel and chef Alain Ducasse’s flagship restaurant. It’s now sold in eight countries, and Coates has hired his son Tristram to drive more expansion abroad over the next decade.

“After that, I have a hammock out in the garden, and my ultimate dream is to swing in the hammock as permanent life president of the company and be paid to do absolutely nothing,” Coates says. “If anyone was ever going to write my obituary, I wanted a bit more on it than ‘investment banker.’ ”

Coates and Seely available at the cellar door

Coates & Seely: The Perfect Pairing

Coates & Seely and racing share many attributes: our grapes are grown on the south facing chalk slopes of the North Hampshire Downs, the home to many top racehorse studs – the perfect “terroir” for award winning wines and racehorse winners.

The Jockey Club: Virginia Coates, February 20th 2020


Coates & Seely and racing share many attributes:  our grapes are grown on the south facing chalk slopes of the North Hampshire Downs, the home to many top racehorse studs – the perfect “terroir” for award winning wines and racehorse winners.  The vines thrive on the thin layer of topsoil, pushing their roots down into the chalk, never lacking water which emerges from the aquifers deep below.  Racehorses bred on these grasslands have also been proven to thrive, many a winner has been raised on the chalk soil within a stone’s throw of Coates & Seely’s vineyards.

Racing has long been at the heart of British Society.  It has been traditional for a day at the races to include fizz with friends, and now there is the opportunity to crack open English sparkling wines at the bar, in the restaurant or at your picnic – an ideal way to spend a day at the races or to celebrate a victory –  a natural evolution of the traditions, as Coates & Seely is quintessentially a British brand, along with The Jockey Club.

Both C&S and The Jockey Club are so proud to be British and working in partnership.  This harmony was confirmed  by a curious coincidence:  C&S acquired a retired 1952 British Leyland vintage coach, in British Racing Green, with a “champagne bar” fitted at the entrance, from an event company in Belgian.  We repatriated the coach and were thrilled to realise the lucky synergy of the transaction, as it was registered with the number plate “JCK”.  The return journey of the coach to Britain coincided with the signing up of our very special partnership with The Jockey Club.  

Albion – an ancient name for Britain – as we have named the coach, gets taken to the races at Epsom, Sandown and Newmarket, where it acts as a perfect focal point to serve our English sparkling wines.  So photogenic is this vehicle, that it has already earned its keep on a number of occasions, by appearing on request on ITV racing news with Francesca Cumani.  Inside Albion are intimate tables to enjoy a glass of C&S, outside are bars in British Racing Green, the colour of our marketing long before we went to the races, with parasols to keep off the blazing British sun.

Coates & Seely at The Jockey Club

Coates & Seely is a young company, based on an old friendship, between Nicholas Coates and Christian Seely, who studied at business school together in France; idling many a day at the races.  After their respective careers in finance and the wine world, they came together in 2008 to start a business with a mutual passion and the desire to create the very best English sparkling wines. 

Their aim from the start was to create wines which reflect the high quality of the English chalk “terroir”, using only the best grapes under the guidance of the top French winemakers and consultants from Champagne.  Their efforts were rewarded from the start – the wines were launched in 2011 and the first discerning hotels to order were the Georges V and Hotel Bristol in Paris; subsequently many top awards have been given; and in 2019 the International Wine & Spirit Challenge gave the trophy for the “top bottle fermented sparkling wine in the world” to Coates & Seely.  It’s like winning the Derby with a newly discovered racehorse, who has been selectively bred from purebred lines, in new surroundings – and we are still celebrating!

Coates & Seely is listed in many top establishments including the Fat Duck, the Savoy, the Dorchester and  Annabel’s; in museums and galleries across London; in five of the Royal Palaces and in ten different countries.  The Rosé is served in Paris by Alain Ducasse in his restaurant, by the glass.   In addition private clients around the world enjoy the fizz and C&S are so proud to be listed by The Jockey Club at so many of their racecourses.

When we cracked open our first bottle, we reflected that if we lived in a wine producing area of the world, or in Champagne, there would be food in the vernacular, local food matchings that would bring out the best in the wines.  Just as winemaking has developed in Britain, so has the availability of top ingredients grown locally, making the development of local food matches a joy.  At Coates & Seely we encourage people to drink C&S not just as an aperitif, or in celebration, but throughout lunch or dinner, as the wines work well with so many foods.  I trained as a chef under Pru Leith and worked around the world as a private chef, and now work for Coates & Seely as the in-house chef and head of events.  I take a particular interest in the wine and food served by the Jockey Club in so many spectacular locations.

A glass of English Sparkling Rosé

When you arrive at the races, a glass of Coates & Seely is the perfect way to get you in the mood for the day, so I would start with a glass before lunch.  To follow, if you are having a picnic, the Jockey Club chefs have put together an inspired British Luxury Hamper to serve at the races.  The range of ingredients and menu choices reflect the best of British food, yet cooked with Continental flair and confidence, using imaginative recipes, all of which will pair perfectly with the bottle of Coates & Seely Rose NV included in the hamper.  The only snag I can see, is you will feel tempted to open more than the one bottle provided!

Chicken Liver Paté, to start, works perfectly with the Rosé, the earthiness of the paté, matches well the sweet fruit of the fizz.

The Beef and Smoked Salmon, so British, are also a natural pairing.  I love to make Quail Scotch Eggs to serve at picnics, so I am glad to see them included alongside the healthy lentil salad. 

The puddings are too tempting, and at this point in the picnic I would take a break from the C&S to pace yourself, with the South Downs Water, to clear the palate and save the last glass of Rosé for the wonderful selection of three English cheeses – another example of the skill in British craftsmanship.   If there is any fizz left in the bottle, bring it out at tea time (or order another one!) – the cream tea, an essential English experience, served with strawberry jam, will be enhanced by a glass of Coates & Seely, and by then you will hopefully be celebrating your victories.

The perfect Great British picnic hamper

A bottle of Coates & Seely can be found within the Luxury Hamper in the Great British Picnic enclosure at the Investec Derby Festival. 

Virginia Coates, Head of Events at Coates & Seely

Coates & Seely wins International Sparkling Wine Trophy of 2019

IWSC have awarded their coveted Bottle Fermented Sparkling Wine Trophy to Hampshire based Coates & Seely Vintage ‘La Perfide’.

IWSC have awarded their coveted Bottle Fermented Sparkling Wine Trophy to Hampshire based Coates & Seely Vintage ‘La Perfide’.

Coates & Seely Sparkling Wine Trophy

Following their Gold medal win earlier in the year for their Blanc de Blancs 2009 Vintage ‘La Perfide’, Coates & Seely are honoured to have gone on to be awarded the IWSC Bottle Fermented Sparkling Wine Trophy against all international sparkling wines. With a score of 97 points, ‘La Perfide’ beat all other bottle-fermented sparkling wines from around the world – a triumph for them and for the English sparkling wine category as a whole.

Nicholas Coates said: “The 2009 Blanc de Blancs ‘La Perfide’ is the first wine Coates & Seely ever made, and it bodes well for the future ‘Perfide’ vintages, the next of which – our Blancs de Noir 2014 ‘La Perfide’ – will be available in 2020.”

Co-Founder Christian Seely added: “This particular wine has now won all five of the major trophies for the best English sparkling wine and confirms our conviction that the best English sparkling wines can rival the best in the world.”

C&S at the IWSC 50th anniversary Awards Banquet, held at the Guildhall

Coates & Seely were privileged to be celebrating their win on the auspicious occasion of the IWSC 50th anniversary Awards Banquet, held at the Guildhall in London on Thursday 28th November.

Sparkling Wine Trophy winner Coates & Seely

IWSC Judges’ Tasting Notes

“Clean silvery stream of bubbles flows through the pale yellow wine. Rich and a tad decadent: roast lemons, plum skin, cashew, toast. The palate is quite broad, with plenty of citrus acidity; it drives beautifully over the tongue. Mineral and very long finish.”

Established in 1969, The International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) was the first competition of its kind, set up to seek out, reward and promote the world’s best wines, spirits and liqueurs. Now in its 50th year, the IWSC’s relentless pursuit of excellence underpins every aspect of the competition today – allowing it to be recognised internationally as a badge of quality. Currently receiving entries from over 90 countries, the IWSC is truly international in its reach and recognition. Its global partners work to promote winners to both trade and consumer audiences throughout the year.