Essential Guide to English Wine published

Peter Richards MW’s pocket-sized Essential Guide to English Wine, co-authored with his wife and fellow MW, Susie Barrie, has been published by the International Wine & Food Society (IWFS) this week to coincide with English Wine Week.

“The emergence of a credible new force in the world of wine is a momentous occurrence. It adds something new and exciting to what is already a fascinating global scene. England today fully deserves its place at wine’s top table.The Essential Guide to English Wine explains why.

“This is not a long, dense tome. We wanted to make a virtue of focus, concision – and portability. This is partly why Wales, maker of some very fine wines, is not included. Nor do we make any claim to this being a definitive overview. These are our insights, inevitably personal but well researched and rigorously debated, following years of study, enquiry, visiting, interviewing – and of course tasting. English wine makes for a formidably enjoyable and rewarding subject, one we highly recommend.

The Essential Guide to English Wine is a snapshot of a fast-moving young industry at a time of considerable uncertainty about the future. As a result, we have tried to retain a sense of the broader perspective as well as the fine detail. Our aim is to pique your curiosity, bring key information to your attention and invite you to explore. Above all we encourage you, as the late Geoff Bowen of Pebblebed Vineyards put it, “To drink the view”. It is a most magnificent vista.”

– Peter Richards & Susie Barrie


The Essential Guide to English Wine is a 72-page guide which covers all the key aspects of English wine – from the history to modern developments via climate change, geology, grape varieties, viticulture, winemaking and recent vintages – while the core of the book profiles the country’s leading producers. Wine tourism has its own section, as does a listing of key overseas distributors to reflect the growing importance of exports. A map of the main wine regions, designed by Dr Alistair Nesbitt of Climate Wine Consulting, sits at the heart of the publication.

Barrie and Richards don’t shy away from knotty issues, like the risks associated with over-production, commercial viability, high production costs, unpredictable weather, ‘wildly fluctuating yields’ and even Brexit. The guide features input from the likes of Champagne producer (and erstwhile Nyetimber consultant from the early days) Jean-Manuel Jacquinot, geologist Dr Alex Maltman, climate change and viticulture expert Dr Alistair Nesbitt and leading viticulturist Duncan McNeill. It also includes the new English wine projects by Champagne houses Taittinger (Domaine Evremond) and Pommery (Louis Pommery England).

As well as being distributed to the 6,000-strong international membership of the IWFS, which has branches from Memphis to Massachusetts and Shanghai to Harare, the guide is also available to both public and trade in the UK.

The guide can be purchased from the IWFS website via the following link: The cover price is £6.99 but trade and bulk discounts are available. An e-book will also be available via various platforms in due course.