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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a union of four countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is colloquially referred to as Great Britain or England; see there.

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 (vernaccia) 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.

England - Denbies Wine Estate mit Rebflächen

English influence on European viticulture

England and the numerous British colonies around the world are responsible for the great popularity of two now famous dessert wines. Towards the end of the 16th century, triggered by 2,900 barrels (pipes) captured by the so to speak state-licensed privateer and circumnavigator Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596), sherry became popular in England, imported in large quantities from Spain. The foundation stone for the port wine boom in England, which began at the beginning of the 18th century, was laid by the treaty concluded in 1703 and known as the Methuen Treaty, which provided special customs concessions for the import of Portuguese wines into England. This led to the British monopoly in the port wine trade and the founding of many port wine houses in Portugal. The Factory House in Porto, which opened in 1790, also played a special role in this, and was where the British factors concluded their business.

In the 17th century, bottles for wine were invented for the first time by Sir Kenelm Digby (1603-1665) and were produced for a long time, mainly in England. From the beginning of the 18th century, caused by the trade war between France and England, an exclusive market for Bordeaux wines developed. English wine merchants founded trading houses in Bordeaux, some of which still exist today, and founded the Bordeaux wine trade. After the Second World War, the scientist Ray Barrington Brock (1907-1999) identified the most suitable grape varieties and from 1952 onwards, Sir Guy Salisbury-Jones (1896-1985) planted the first vineyard in the...

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