Both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir can be ripened enough to produce grapes that are ideal for Sparkling wine. Today they win international acclaim, tempting Champagne's elite to pay more than lip-service to the wines and the vineyards.
Wine has been continuously produced in Britain since Roman imperial times (100–400 AD). Historically there has been little success in the quality and consistency of British winemaking, but since about 1970 – and particularly in recent years – there have been signs of improvement. The vineyards of England are concentrated in the warmest southern counties of Kent and Sussex, yet grape ripening is still a risky business. As a result, it is imperative to select sites that minimise the effects of the cool, wet climate. The hallmark high acidity of English wine lends itself to traditional method sparkling wine production.