The UK wine industry has applied for protected name status for the term 'British Fizz'.
At the end of last year, the wine producers of Sussex successfully completed their long-standing campaign to get protected name status for their bubbly. With the decision rubber-stamped, ‘Sussex Sparkling’ will soon be officially protected.
Now, we’re not sure exactly how many vineyards in Slovenia, Morocco or Oregon were busily trying to pass their stuff off as the real South Downs McCoy – but that’s beside the point. It’s a decent name and a solid marketing hook for producers to use.
The rest of the British wine industry is now trying to follow suit – but the name they have plumped for is ‘British Fizz.
That name has split opinion. And not evenly.
We asked Country Life readers in a poll via Twitter to have their say on what they thought.
66% described it as ‘absolutely pathetic’, with 21% agreeing that it was ‘not bad but a little flat’.
13% of you were more positive, voting for ‘Fab! Let’s pop one open!’
Those results seem to mirror the general mood. Last week the Times and Telegraph both ran articles offering multiple opinions from those shocked and appalled by what they see as an enormously underwhelming name.
One reader commenting on The Times’s piece, Andrew Wilson, wrote that “British fizz sounds more like a condemnation than a recommendation.” People on social media were fuming too.
But Sam Lindo, a winemaker and chairman of the UK Vineyard Association, painted a different picture, pointing out that since bars in places such as New York have already started labelling it as such, we might as well get behind the British Fizz label.
“No one’s ever going to agree on the name so maybe we have to roll with the name that people are already using and protect that name before we lose it,” he told The Times.
That’s a fair point – particularly when you consider that there are vineyards even within Sussex who have lobbied against the ‘Sussex Sparkling’ designation.