Shopping finds: England's new centre of sparkling wine

TENTERDEN, Britain - Thanks to the impact of global warming, wine production has recently been surging in high-latitude Britain, particularly in southern and southeastern regions.

Last year's production volume totaled more than 5 million 750-milliliter bottles, far exceeding the record amount from the previous year by more than 500,000 bottles. Sparkling wine accounts for about 70 per cent of Britain's wine production.

The southeastern county of Kent is a major wine production centre. The soil there is very similar to that of France's Champagne region, which is known for producing the sparkling wine.

Chief Executive Officer Frazer Thompson of the Chapel Down Winery, which was founded in 2001 in the small town of Tenterden in the county, said the only aspect missing in their wine production was history.

The major vineyard's very popular Vintage Reserve Brut is available for £20.99, or about ¥3,700. The wine has a light body with a faint aroma of citrus fruits. British products will likely gain popularity among wine aficionados in Japan.

Sato is chief of the General Bureau of Europe in London.