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

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.

Matthew Jukes wine review: Highlights from Wine GB’s tasting

It is hugely exciting to report that Coates & Seely has upgraded its old, clear glass bottles to beautiful green glass bottles for this wine and I hope that everyone else who is still using these evil clear containers will follow suit. I am also cheered by the continued presence of the term ‘Britagne’ on the label and capsule of this sleek beauty, which I have always thought rather clever.

The reason for this wine’s inclusion in this trailblazer piece is the immediacy and deliciousness of its aroma and flavour. Coates & Seely started off life making rather backward wines but how things have changed. This spectacular rosé trumpets every single molecule of its 80% Pinot noir, 20% Pinot meunier ingredients and it does so with a not inconsiderable dash of glamour and vitality.   

This experience comes at a remarkably reasonable price tag and I sense that if more English rosés can hit the mark like Coates & Seely’s wine does with effortless ease, then pink wines from the other side of the Channel will very swiftly fall from favour. 

Top Drinks News and Marketing Campaigns: March

The Drinks Business: Phoebe French

English sparkling wine Coates & Seely was announced as the new sponsor of The Jockey Club last month, which will see its wines poured at 14 of the club’s 15 racecourses.

The three year partnership was announced on 28 March and gives the home-grown fizz the pouring rights at 14 major British racecourses such as Aintree, Epsom and Newmarket which hold some of the biggest events in the British racing calendar.

As well as the punters themselves, Coates & Seely will also be offered to all winning owners and trainers after the races too.

At each race meet Coates & Seely will have an official presence as well in the shape of a classic 1952 British Leyland coach, liveried in green and off-white, and from which its wines can be sold to racegoers.

The bus, named ‘Albion’, was discovered by Nicholas Coates a mere three weeks ago in a barn near Brussels looking, “terribly forlorn”.

He recounted though that he had instantly “fallen in love” and all of his family had quickly become aware that there was “another woman in my life”.

He described Albion as looking like, “an aged diva or dowager,” that just needed some “care and attention and her hair done”, which was accomplished in record time to allow a maiden cruise around Belgravia and Saint James’s in London on 28 March. Her first race appointment will be at Newmarket in April.

The restored Albion

Commenting on the new partnership, Coates and Christian Seely, co-founders of Coates & Seely said: “We are delighted to have been appointed an official partner by the Jockey Club, which is a major accolade for our young brand. There are many qualities that connect fine wine with racing – not least the endless pursuit of form and quality and a love of celebration – and we greatly look forward to developing our activities across this wonderful portfolio of racecourses.”

Paul Fisher, chief executive of Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “It’s great to be working with Coates & Seely and we’re really looking forward to a prosperous partnership over the next three years. We look to support British producers on our menus and wine lists wherever we can and I’m sure our racegoers will be impressed with this sparkling wine. I know I am!”

From the Grand National to the Boat Race, how English fizz is taking over champagne as the toast of the season

The Telegraph: Victoria Moore, April 2nd 2019

And they’re off! The Grand National takes place on Saturday.The world’s most famous steeplechase is followed by an international audience of over 600 million people, as well as the thousands who gather at Aintree to watch 40 horses and jockeys tackling this testing course.

This year, for the first time in the race’s 180-year history, the winner will celebrate with a glass not of champagne but of Coates & Seely English sparkling wine.

As well as being served in the owners and trainers enclosure, Coates & Seely English sparkling wine will also be available to race-goers so they can enjoy an elegant glass (or three) as they cheer on horses.

The news marks a big move into the very fabric of English society for the Hampshire-based producer, and is part of a new three-year partnership that will see it become the only English sparkling wine served at 14 of The Jockey Club’s 15 race-courses, including Epsom Downs and Newmarket (a rival English sparkling wine, Nyetimber, currently holds the pouring rights at Cheltenham).

I understand that competition to snag the deal was extremely fierce, as English wine producers jockey for position (forgive the pun) and, slowly but surely, lay claim to the British season: Chapel Down is already an official partner to the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race; while Nyetimber is served at Glyndebourne as well as being an official supporter of the Lawn Tennis Association.

Like most of the new generation of successful English sparkling wines, Coates & Seely is made from the champagne grapes chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. The company was founded in 2008 by two old friends and INSEAD alumni, Nick Coates and Christian Seely.

Coates had recently retired from a career in the City. Seely was – and still is – Managing Director of AXA Millésimes, a role that puts him in charge of prestigious wine estates such as Chateau Pichon Baron in Bordeaux and Quinta do Noval in Portugal’s Douro Valley.

Last week I met up with Coates and Seely to trundle through the streets of London in “Albion” – a 1952 British Leyland Coach painstakingly restored and liveried in British racing green. Albion will also be attending Jockey Club racecourses throughout the summer, and serving Coates & Seely sparkling wine from a small bar inside.

It’s a lovely old thing – though I was surprised to see the driver taking a large branch from the Belgrave Square pavement and dipping it into the tank to check we had enough petrol to make it to Pall Mall. But as with all the best British things it would be a very big mistake to assume that charm equates to lack of competitive edge.

“The main thing – the only thing – I learnt in all these vineyards,” said Seely, “was that any great wine expresses a sense of place and I became obsessed with the idea of finding chalky land in the south of England where it might be possible to make great wine. The wines we have begun to make show that it’s possible.”

A fair observation, and if you do happen to be at Aintree (or near a branch of Lea & Sandeman) this weekend then I particularly commend the Coates & Seely Sparkling Rosé NV.

Grand National betting BOOM: Record £650m to be staked on ‘biggest race in history’

Daily Star: Jerry Lawton

Bookmakers predict bets totalling £650million will be placed over the three-day meeting, which starts today.

And £300m is expected to be wagered on the big race itself, which will be watched by a worldwide TV audience of 600m.

That will be the most bet on a horse race anywhere in the world.

Punters are queuing up to back last year’s champion Tiger Roll to become the first horse since Red Rum in 1974 to win two on the trot. 

The horse – which won by 22 lengths at Cheltenham – is set to start the shortest-priced favourite in the history of the race.

On top of that, the races switch from Channel 4 to ITV and later 5.15pm start time – after most football matches have finished – are expected to give it a further boost.

Bookies expect one in four Brits to place at least one bet on the race.

Course bosses expect 150,000 people at Aintree, Liverpool, over the next three days.

They will sup 300,000 pints, 8,000 bottles of champagne and up to 25,000 cocktails cooled by 1,813,000 ice cubes.

For the first time, the winning owner will celebrate with Coates & Seely English sparkling wine instead of French bubbly.

Paul Binfield, of Paddy Power, said: “This year’s National has been the most popular for ages. It’s the draw of Tiger Roll .”

Nicola McGeady, of Ladbrokes, said: “All betting records are expected to be torn up on Grand National day.”

Grand National winner will celebrate with English sparkling wine instead of French Champagne for first time in horse race’s 172-year history

Mail Online: Dianna Apen-Sadler

  • Coates & Seely English sparkling wine has secured a deal with The Jockey Club
  • Will see the bubbly served across 14 of their UK racecourses, including Aintree
  • Racegoers are expected to pop around 8,000 bottles of fizz over three days

This year’s Grand National winner will celebrate with English bubbly instead of French Champagne for the first time in the horse race’s 172-year history.

The winning jockey will enjoy a glass of Coates & Seely English sparkling wine after the brand secured a three-year deal with The Jockey Club who own the famous Aintree racecourse.

As well as being served in the owners and trainers enclosure, the sparkling wine will also be available to racegoers as they cheer on horses. 

Racegoers are expected to down an estimated 300,000 pints and pop 8,000 bottles of fizz, all cooled down by a whopping 1,813,600 ice cubes.

This year’s Grand National winner will celebrate with English sparkling wine instead of French Champagne for the first time in the horse race’s 172-year history (pictured: Davy Russell, last year’s winner)

Paul Fisher, Chief Executive of Jockey Club Racecourses, said: ‘It’s great to be working with Coates & Seely and we’re really looking forward to a prosperous partnership over the next three years.

Coates & Seely (pictured: their English sparkling wine) secured a three-year deal with The Jockey Club who own the famous Aintree racecourse

‘We look to support British producers on our menus and wine lists wherever we can and I’m sure our racegoers will be impressed with this sparkling wine.’ 

Demand for home-grown wines has soared in recent years, with last summer’s heatwave leading to a record grape harvest and a vintage year for English and Welsh wine.

Last year the Denbies Chalk Valley Sparkling Brut NV, from Surrey, beat out French an Italian rivals in a taste test by the consumer group Which?

Ridgeview, which makes sparkling wine in East Sussex, was also named Winemaker of the Year in the International Wine & Spirit Competition for 2018.

It is expected that more than 150,000 people will visit the Aintree racetrack over the three days of the popular jump festival. 

It’s claimed the National’s recent switch to ITV1 from Channel 4 will also see one in four Brits place a bet along with 600 million viewers worldwide, with a staggering £650million wagered.

Coates & Seeley wines will be served across 14 of the 15 racecourses The Jockey Club own.

Nicholas Coates and Christian Seely, co-founders of Coates & Seely, added: ‘We are delighted to have been appointed an Official Partner by the Jockey Club, which is a major accolade for our young brand. 

‘There are many qualities that connect fine wine with racing – not least the endless pursuit of form and quality and a love of celebration – and we greatly look forward to developing our activities across this wonderful portfolio of racecourses.’