Home News > May 2018 > English fizz passes Champagne for first time

For the first time ever in the Sommelier Wine Awards, English sparkling wine took more places on the competition’s final Gold List than Champagne.

English sparklers managed a record number of medals (and seven Golds) while Champagne’s performance slumped compared to last year, with half the number of Golds.

The English picked up five white Golds and two rosés, with prices almost uniformly under £25 and our tasters enjoying the lightness and deft acidity.

‘At this price it’s easy to find a place for these. They’re a good alternative, and people are willing to try them,’ said senior judge, Mattia Mazzi of Lutyens.

Champagne, by contrast, saw a big fall in its number of Golds this year: from 12 in 2017 to just six this year – with only one rosé making its way onto the competition’s final Gold List. Though this was not something that worried our judges.

‘We only ever have two champagnes: a grower champagne and a grande marque,’ said senior judge James Fryer from Portland . ‘We haven’t stocked a rose champagne for years. There just wasn’t a market for it.’

The bad news for champagne didn’t end there, either, with two of its other serious sparkling competitors putting in good performances as well. Prosecco overcame the frost issues of 2017 to perform at the same level as last year, and even Cava showed that last year’s efforts in SWA were no fluke, with an increased number of medals.

‘We had Cavas that could easily beat Prosecco, and others that could stand up to Champagne,’ said Timothy Connor of Core by Clare Smith.

See the full list of English Sparkling winners here