There’s a new English wine retailer, Corkk, based right here in Kent, and they not only celebrate the emergence of high-quality wines throughout the country, but they have a great affinity of wines from the Wine Garden of England (watch this space!)
Inspired by a love of sharing and savouring a glass of wine with family and friends and witnessing the dramatic change happening across the Kent and English countryside with the increasing number of vineyards being planted, Jonathan Piggins, the founder, wanted to discover more about the wines being produced all around him.
One of the aspects that struck him was the sheer growth in numbers, in the number of wines being produced (13.8 million bottles in 2018), the number of hectares being planted and the extensive variety of wines now available. As the recent WineGB awards demonstrated, there are not only extensive varieties of sparkling wines, but you now have plentiful still wines, including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Meunier, Ortega and Bacchus, increasingly known as the English grape variety. Furthermore, the creativity that is being shown by our winemakers who are pushing the boundaries makes it an incredibly exciting time – just look Hush Heath’s This Septered Isle!
He was also acutely aware, from various friends, that English wine still had a legacy reputation of producing not very good wines. English wines are increasingly winning multiple awards (138 medals at the 2019 Decanter Awards) and are becoming renowned overseas (Norway loves our wines), there are, in some quarters, those who still doubt. He also noted that a challenge facing many producers was to reach markets further afield than their immediate locality.
So, he set out with a mission; to showcase the finest wines England has to offer and to make them widely available, thus increasing the producers reach.
It was with this in mind that he approached Clive Barlow, a well-known and respected Master of Wine, who also happened to be the founder of the Canterbury Wine Festival. Clive’s role is to select every wine on the Corkk website, to find those distinctive wines which are full of flavour and integrity. As Jonathan says: “Less is more. We want to create a website where inquisitive, adventurous wine drinkers can select their wines with confidence. We are not a marketplace, with every wine, but a curated selection of showcasing the true varietal nature and quality of English wine.”
Corkk enables you to buy in a number of ways, buying individual bottles, specially selected boxes or, for the curious and adventurous, you can buy a subscription package. They also do wine gift boxes.
English wine is truly undergoing a revolution. As a well-known winemaker within The Wine Group recently said: “It takes 10 years to know the land and 10 years to learn how to make the wine”. Many of our vineyards have reached or are approaching that milestone, and what is more, the industry is very collaborative with vineyard owners, producers, viticulturists and winemakers willing to share knowledge. It is a race to the top – that is what is makes it truly exciting – and Corkk is embracing this!
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