Gluck faces backlash from English wine supporters

15 June, 2007

English wine suppliers and retailers have

hit back at Malcolm Gluck's claims that English wine is a "joke".

Julia Trustram Eve, of English Wine Producers, said

the comments - in a letter


the Guardian - were disappointing, but not representative of the majority.

She said: "Mr Gluck is perfectly entitled to his own opinion, yet many more wine writers show that they differ with his views

and leading retailers and restaurants also select them - the wines simply would not be listed if they fell anywhere short of their requirements."

In a letter to the paper on May 30, Gluck said English wine is "mostly clumsily made, overpriced and only relevant to the UK tourist trade and retailers situated in the counties of the vineyards ". He also criticised wine awards and said English sparkling wines could never match the quality of Champagne.

Ian Curzon-Berners, of Plymouth off-licence Vineyards of Bordeaux - which specialises in English wine - said he would rather spend £10 on English wine than French because it is better quality.

He said: "English wine is doing better than it ever has and the quality is fantastic. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, but we listen to what our customers tell us and they like it."

Waitrose is the biggest supermarket supporter of English wine with 25 per cent of the market share.

Justin Howard-Sneyd MW, manager for wine buying, said English wine was appreciated for its style rather than price and said many disagreed with Gluck's comments : "Gluck is like King Canute

- the tide of opinion is against him ."

Nina Walters, sales and marketing manager at sparkling wine specialist Nyetimber, said she hoped wine drinkers would listen to "unbiased" writers.

Atkin on the Case, page 23

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All across England and Wales, vineyards are being harvested. Down winding country lanes come armies of welly-wearing conscripts wielding secateurs and buckets, ready to reap the rewards of our vines. Happily they come, their cheeks ruddy with pride. Half an hour later they’re crawling over muddy clods with lacerated hands, drenched in claggy juice and cold sweat, as if ploughing through an endurance race.

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