Make Britain Grape Again! Tory MP urges the Foreign Office to lead the charge for UK wine

Posted On: 
14th March 2017

In the post-Brexit global race, what better way to stride ahead of our competitors than by getting them sloshed on homegrown British wines?

A pinot noir grape at a vineyard in Hampshire
Credit: 
PA

With yesterday's passage of the Article 50 legislation, Tory MP Nusrat Ghani can (sort of) lay claim to the first post-Brexit bill this afternoon.

And the Member for Wealden, in East Sussex, gets top marks for beating the drum for Britain's burgeoning wine industry. 

Even if we do only take up 1% of the global market at the moment, all the signs are we could soon be drunk on our own success (and wine). 

"Our wine production is at a fraction of the global total, but that means we have a market share in our sights. In fact, speaking of France, we have been beating them at their own game. Last year a tasting was held in Paris, and English wine was not only mistaken for champagne but it beat respected champagne houses all round."

Mr Ghani is also doing his best to help "judging by the contents of our fridge", she informed chuckling colleagues. 

Ghani's Ten Minute Rule Bill, ably cheered on by enthusiastic Tory backbenchers, would build on that progress by forcing our embassies and consulates to serve UK wines at official functions - taking their lead from Downing St and Her Majesty the Queen, no less. 

There were also puns: "British viticulture is an industry that has a golden future ahead of it, much like the colour of its best known sparkling vintages."

Class-based japes: "One of the great characteristics of modern Britain, is that someone who wasn't exactly brought up with a champagne flute in their hand, unlike several Honourable Members I could mention, has the opportunity to promote such a fantastic, blossoming British industry."

But one couldn't help but feel she missed a trick when saying her bill would "enable a consistent top-down policy from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office" on serving wines.

Surely she of all people should know it's a bottoms-up policy?!