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Week to celebrate English wine

English Wine Week kicks off on Saturday. It’s a celebration of English wines marked by a host of events around the country to get us tasting our home-grown tipple.

Lots of vineyards are putting on special tours and tastings, with chances to meet the producers and learn about winemaking. There are also wine and dine evenings planned at restaurants, as well as tutored tasting events.

One such event is the first of what is hoped will be an annual competition pitching New Zealand wines against the new wave of wines from Devon. Hosted and organised by Devon Wine School’s patron Alastair Peebles, MW, the Judgement of Devon is a modern-day take on the France versus California tasting of 1976, which saw the minnows of the time competing against the fine-wine masters. The blind tasting will involve experienced tasters and judges, along with a panel of Joe Public wine enthusiasts. There will also be a New Zealand winemaker on hand to ensure that the Kiwis have their say.

New Zealand was selected for the competition, which takes place on Thursday 31st May, because, like Devon, it has a cool, maritime climate and aromatic grape varieties, but also world-class stature in the wine world.

English Wine Week runs from Saturday 26th May to Sunday 3rd June. For more information and a diary of everything that’s going on, go to