If you thought that cold climate grapes are only used in the Midwest and parts of NY state you are wrong. Very wrong.
Cold climate grapes are being used around the world including unexpected places such as England where there is a thriving wine industry that embraces these varieties for making sparkling wines.
Don't call it Champagne or the Wine Police will chase after you. Even if a wine is made in the traditional Champagne method, it cannot be called Champagne unless it is from that specific area and made from three approved grapes (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Petite Meunier).
The International Cool Climate Wine Symposium was held last week in Britain and some central themes are starting to emerge where cold climate grapes could have an advantage over standard Noble (or vinifera) grapes in the production of sparkling wines.
> Cool climate grapes, due to higher acidity, lend themselves well to sparkling wines. Since sparkling wines are from grapes picked with lower alcohol levels ripening times do not have to be as long as for still wine (particularly reds).
> Consumers enjoy sparkling wines and they can be marketed for both every day drinking and special occasions.
> Producers of sparkling wines may be able to leverage the recent popularity of apple ciders and capture some market share with consumers of alcoholic carbonated beverages.
For more information on the symposium, take a look here.