Chalky soil and unusually high temperatures could provide British consumers with English sparkling wine to rival the finest French champagne post-Brexit, Michael Gove said.
The Environment Secretary said a change in climate will see a “bumper harvest” for UK-produced sparkling wine this year, as he took part in a debate at BBC Countryfile Live in Oxford.
Mr Gove, speaking to an audience of farming and environmental experts, said the product pointed to the resilience and “joie de vivre” that can be found in Britain.
He said: “I was in East Sussex the weekend before last, talking to someone there who built a farm and turned it into a highly successful business producing English sparkling wine.
“One of the challenges – or opportunities, dare I say – of a changing climate is that chalky soil of parts of England, combined with the weather we just had, means that English sparkling wine will have a bumper harvest this year.”
The wine in question, which he later revealed was produced at the Rathfinny Estate in East Sussex, has been independently assessed as being “higher quality and better tasting than the finest champagne from France”, he said.
He added: “So whatever else Brexit may bring, it will bring English sparkling wine, providing a level of cheer to British drinkers, greater than that provided by the French champagne.”