It was the Romans who first planted vines in England, and after the fall of Rome in the 5th century AD, monks took over the care of the vineyards refining their knowledge of viticulture and vinification as they went. It is actually acknowledged that sparkling wine was made in England before Champagne. A paper by Christopher Merret was presented to the newly formed Royal Society on the 17th December 1662 about how to produce a sparkling wine, and this was 30 years before France made their first sparkling champagne and over 70 years before the oldest champagne house was established – Ruinart. There’s good news for still wine lovers too - Bacchus is becoming known as England’s answer to Sauvignon Blanc, and this is the grape to look out for if you want to taste a glass of quintessential English wine! Rock on England! Currently there are over 700 vineyards listed in the UK in the GB Vineyards Guide – the majority being in the south of England.