With good news in such short supply this year, it might be tempting to get a bit too excited about the fact that the UK has just completed its first trade deal since leaping over the Brexit cliff edge and looking around hopefully for the parachute ripcord.
Japan is, after all, not especially renowned for buying British, and experts tell us that the free trade agreement recently signed with that country will make a relatively tiny difference to the nation’s balance sheet as we move forward into the broad sunlit uplands of a post-Brexit, blue passport world.
What is more cheering, though, is the fact that in announcing the done and dusted deal, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, usually better known for flying the flag for UK cheese, listed English sparkling wine in her rundown of the sort of “properly identified flagship UK products” that our friends in Japan would be encouraged to buy.
It must be good news that Government ministers, presumably not unused to quaffing Champers, are beginning to realise just how good the UK’s wines are and how many of them can now hold their own against competition from more traditional producers.
The French, of course, realised a few years ago that the UK climate and topography was increasingly suitable for sparkling wine, and news that Taittinger has been given planning permission for its winery and visitor centre in Kent is suitable reward for the Champagne house’s faith in the soil and sunshine in that part of the country.
And if the opportunity to export a few cases of your finest fizz to Japan isn’t enough to counter this year’s generally downbeat mood, this edition of Vineyard contains plenty of other news that might just inspire you to crack open a bottle of bubbly.
Alongside the normal range of news, views and tasting notes from UK vineyards and overseas, this month’s magazine contains two home-grown stories that we are delighted to share.
The first is that this seat – currently being kept warm on a temporary basis – will, from the December issue onwards, be occupied by none other than Jo Cowderoy, who will need very little introduction. Currently operations manager for WineGB, Jo has a huge amount of experience in the world of wine and we look forward to her taking charge of the magazine.
The second is that Jo and the team will be working hard on plans for The Vineyard Show, an exciting new event that will showcase UK winemaking and is planned for November next year at the Kent County Showground. With the highly experienced Sarah Calcutt joining the team as Event Director, this is set to be an unmissable event. Cheers!