Viticulture in Britain was introduced by the Romans. The conquest of the island was initiated in 43 AD under Claudius. It was largely inhabited by Celtic-speaking tribes who maintained close ties with Gaul. Parts of the island remained under Roman rule until about 440 AD. In 1152, the future King Henry II (1133-1189) came into possession of Gascony and large parts of western France, including Bordeaux (which reverted to France in 1453), through marriage to Eleonora of Aquitaine (1122-1204). For almost 300 years, French wine was imported on a large scale. This was also the great time of the rosé-coloured Clairet. But sweet wines from southern Europe were also very popular from the middle of the 14th century, for example Vernage (Vernacchia) from Italy and Malmsey from Cyprus and Crete, which was shipped from the Greek port of Monemvasia (Peloponnese). Therefore, independent English viticulture came to a standstill for many centuries.
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