England, although more famous for gin and beer, has been producing wine since Roman Imperial times (100 – 400AD). Historically the country hasn't been known for the quality of its winemaking, inhibited by its northerly latitude and resulting cool climate. Significant chaptalisation to off-set the high acidity of under-ripe grapes was once common practice but since the 1970s, and particularly since the turn of the millennium, natural sugar levels have increased in the vineyard and wines have increased in quality and reputation. The modern commercial English wine industry is often attributed to small experimental vineyards planted in the 1950s and 60s.

The lack of sunshine and colder temperatures inhibit ripening and fruit set which lead to high acid levels and low yields. The climate is moderated by the Gulf Stream, a major Atlantic Ocean current that carries warm water from the Caribbean to the southern coasts of England and Wales. The Gulf Stream also helps moderate the climate of Bordeaux. These conditions have led to sparkling wines becoming the most prominent and commercially successful of English wines, some of which have been rated alongside those from better-known wine-producing countries such as France, Australia and New Zealand. The Champagne varieties Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are particularly successful alongside bottle fermented sparkling wines made using the méthode traditionnelle.

White wines dominate the production followed by rosé and a small quantity of still reds. The cool climate generally favours early ripening varieties with limited still wine produced from the likes of Triomphe d'Alsace, Dornfelder, Madeleine Angevine, Seyval Blanc, Schonburger and Müller-Thurgau. England had a succession of warm summers in the 2010s and is considered one of the regions whose wine industry will benefit by the warming effects of climate change.

A major organisation for the promotion of the wine industry in the United Kingdom is the United Kingdom Vineyards Association, a conglomerate of the regional associations, Mercian, Thames and Chiltern, Wessex, South West, South East and East Anglian. The Welsh Vineyards Association is also a member.

Legislation recognises the following English wine regions: Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, East Anglia, England, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Isle of Wight, Isles of Scilly, Kent, Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Shropshire, Surrey, Sussex, Worcestershire and Yorkshire. The majority of the country's vineyards are in the south east in Surrey, Sussex and Kent.
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