Wine Olympics: Sampling an unlikely variety of English wines

With the eyes of the world on this year’s Olympics in London, it might be timely to cast an eye over England’s winemaking scene.

Although hardly a vinous powerhouse, England has produced wine since Roman times. Thirty-eight wineries are listed in the Domesday Book of 1086, that thorough survey ordered by William the Conqueror to discover the precise extent and value of the landholdings in his new domain whose population at the time numbered about 1 million.

The prolonged period of warm weather in the early Middle Ages meant vines could be grown successfully as far north as Yorkshire.

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(Photo: Trish Hughes/