Does English Sparkling Wine need a new name?

9th December 2015

Does English Sparkling Wine need a new name?

It is a topic that I hear from time to time when at tasting events, especially noted amongst the likes of Franciacorta, Cava and English Sparkling Wine. I think they are all fine personally, each have made a name for themselves and are relatively known in the sparkling wine sector with a growing list of awards and popularity behind them. Usually, the conversation about finding a new name is in relation to where Champagne stands and the growth of popularity of Prosecco which kind of turns the debate upside down as I get the feeling the need for a new name is mostly in relation to competing with over standing out.

For whatever reason, be it the history, quality, charm, awards, the people who make it or for all these reasons combined and more, Champagne is what I usually describe as the Hoover of vacuum cleaners (you do not Hoover the house, you vacuum though many people still say Hoover) – It is in the general public’s vocabulary as many will still assume a sparkling wine is a Champagne… This is of course not the case (our friends at the CIVC will agree I am sure). The important fact here is that brand names can become the descriptive term of what they produce and the verb too such as Hoovering instead of vacuuming, getting the Kleenex out to wipe away tears instead of tissues, jumping in to the Jacuzzi instead of the hot tub (Jacuzzi is a brand who manufactures hot tubs) etc, etc..

What a stand out name does is brings to the mind of the consumer a brand to purchase automatically when it comes round to deciding what to buy. Champagne will be in many people’s mind when it comes to celebrations, parties, weddings, birthdays, romantic purchases etc and a big reason for this I believe is because we, as consumers, have been brought up (especially in the UK) seeing these descriptive terms used for Champagne, be it from old television shows, sports celebrations, images on the internet, advertising by supermarkets etc, etc. Of course, not saying that any other sparkling wine should not be taking the same stage, Prosecco apparently being more popular at weddings now, blind tastings showing English Sparklings winning over Champagne, Franciacorta going through mostly the same production process as Champagne, etc.

So, does English Sparkling Wine need that all new ‘catchy name’? Has it already made enough headlines as English Sparkling Wine that people are getting used to the name? Yes, a catchy name like Prosecco or Champagne (maybe that is because we are so used to them) is good, but sometimes the marketing behind a brand can excel a mere standard name or irrelevant name in to the public attention and part of the choice they have when selecting what to purchase – Think of names like iPad, FunkyPigeon, Samsung, Daddies Sauce (made famous by those Frank Bruno ads? Certainly did in my eyes!), Zoopla, Rightmove, BHS, R Whites Lemonade and more are names we know because of great marketing drives and many of them you’ll instantly know what they do. Can we add English Sparkling Wine to that list, maybe in the near future?

We asked our followers on Twitter regarding the name English Sparkling Wine, 56 people voted on the following question with the majority of 43% reckoning that we need a new name such as English Fizz, English Bubbly, Bretagne – What do you think:Glass of Bubbly English Sparkling Wine



Christopher Walkey

Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.