Learn English By Listening About Sparkling English Wine
This listen & learn English lesson talks about wine whilst giving you an opportunity to listen to a native British English speaker. There are a number of countries throughout the world that are famed for their wines.
Of the many countries the UK is not often considered a producer of wine, yet recently English wine (as opposed to British wine, listen to find out what the difference is!) has started to receive some acclaim from wine connoisseurs.
Hi, I’m Hilary and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. This is our Monday podcast, so slightly longer than our Thursday podcast, but different subjects every week. We aim to keep you interested in your English language listening, on a variety of topics, which will help you increase your vocabulary and make your English automatic.
So today’s subject. If you enjoy wine and you fancy a nice bottle, what countries do you think of? Well, you might reach for a nice Cabernet Sauvignon from France, or you might like a Californian Pinot Noir or a New Zealand Chardonnay. There’s also a lot of good wine grown in South America, such as Chilean Merlot or Argentinian Malbec. And there are lots of other countries who produce wine of course, many who are well known and recognised for it, like Spain, Italy, Germany, Bulgaria and quite a few who aren’t. When I visit Greece, I tend to enjoy a glass of red wine with my meal in the evening and if we eat at home, I buy wine in the supermarket – and I always buy Greek. Now Greece doesn’t have a long-held reputation for its wine, like some other European countries do – but you know, it’s really very good. Greece is just beginning to be recognised for its wine.
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Practice your English language and learn about English wine producers
However, what you probably wouldn’t think of is reaching for a bottle of wine from the UK! From the UK, you say – is there such a thing as wine from the UK? Well, yes indeed there is – and it’s getting better and gaining popularity. That means more and more people are drinking it. Of course, we don’t have the climate or the weather here to grow full-bodied red wine. Most of what is grown in the UK is white wine – and even then, it’s only really in the southern part of the UK that you can grow grapes well enough to make good wine.
So counties like Kent and Sussex do well, though there are vineyards – so that’s farms where grapes are grown – as far west as South Wales. And we seem to do particularly well at sparkling white wines. So when you say ‘sparkling’ of wine or water, it means it’s got bubbles. Another word you might use, say of lemonade or coca cola, would be ‘fizzy’. Fizzy is one of those words, which sounds like what it describes, don’t you think? But of wines, or of water, we would say ‘sparkling’.
So vocabulary about wine, to recap. The fruit that you need to make wine is a grape. And grapes grow on plants which are called vines. And vines are grown in a vineyard – so that’s a field full of vines. Notice the spelling there – it’s spelt V-I-N-E-Y-A-R-D, but pronounced ‘vineyard’.
And another word, which is used of other things, but which comes from wine – vintage, V-I-N-T-A-G-E. If you ask ‘What vintage?’ of a wine, then you’re asking about what year it was produced. But you can use the word vintage of other things too. So we might talk about vintage clothes or vintage cars. So where part of the value of an item comes because of its age, we would use the term vintage. But primarily vintage is used about wine.
Who knew that the UK could produce some of the best English sparkling wine 2017
And other vocabulary. If you come across the term British wine, apparently this means wine which is made in the UK, but the grape concentrate or the grape juice that it’s made from, can be imported from anywhere in the world. So the grapes are grown somewhere else, but the wine is made here and it’s called British wine. But this isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m talking about wine from grapes grown here in the UK. So apparently this means that it’s called English wine or Welsh wine, to show the difference.
Over the last 10 years, the amount of land given over to growing vines – so remember, that’s the plants that the grape grows on – has more than doubled.
However, let’s be realistic. English wine is probably not going to be one of the famous wines of the world any time soon! We’re not going to be able to compete with French Champagne, German Riesling or Italian Chianti! It’s actually much easier to sell our wine to countries in the world who are not well known for producing wine themselves. But the English winegrowers are more focused on selling to the British market. They are focused on convincing English people to drink English wine – and apparently, that’s quite a difficult job! We do of course expect our wines to come from other places in the world. But English supermarkets are catching on – they’re beginning to sell English wines. So if you’re familiar with English supermarkets, then Marks & Spencer do a variety of English wines, as do Waitrose. And if you’re very familiar with English supermarkets, you’ll notice that those two supermarkets tend to be at the slightly more expensive end.
The UK weather is better in the South of England and English sparkling wine in Kent benefits the most
So what are the names of some up and coming vineyards in the UK?
Well, there’s Camel Valley in Cornwall, Chapel Down in Kent and Denbies in the Surrey Hills – that’s not far from where I live.
However, it’s unlikely that our wine export will be greater than our export of other types of alcohol. When I say ‘export’, that means what we sell to other countries. And the opposite, an import or the verb ‘to import’ means that we buy in from other countries. So import and export are both verbs and nouns. So one of our biggest alcohol exports is of course, Scotch Whiskey. We also sell quite a lot of beer to other countries and gin. We do like a gin and tonic here in the UK – or a G&T, as it’s known. But hopefully our wine industry will continue to grow – and perhaps you’ll see bottles of English wine in your country soon! You never know.
Anyway, hopefully if you like wine, that is of interest. So Cheers, Bottoms-up, Good Health!
Enough for now. Don’t forget to have a look at our website – especially the courses page. If you’re not sure about buying a course from Adept English, why not try our free course, The Seven Rules of Adept English first, to see how you get on? Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
Some might argue that climate change is a key factor in changing the growing conditions in the UK such that grape vines are possible on a commercial scale. Some might argue that English wine is good or bad.
This English lesson is really about the use of typical everyday English vocabulary and grammar, spoken by a native British English speaker to help you train your brain to become familiar with listening to English being spoken which will ultimately help you speak English fluently.