By Daniel Hunter

When asked to list wine countries, France would almost certainly be on the tip of the tongue. Australia might follow, New Zealand, South Africa and perhaps Argentina too. England? Perhaps an answer growing in likelihood with the news that English winemakers are toasting a record year for production.

Over the past seven years, the amount of land in England devoted to vineyards has almost doubled. And brands like Nyetimber and Ridgeview are reporting a 43% rise in production last year.

According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), a record-breaking 47,433 hectolitres - around 6.3 million bottles - of English sparkling and still wine were made in 2014. Winemakers smashed the previous production record of 4.5 million bottles made in 2013.

Various industry trade bodies say that around two-thirds of production is sparkling win. But the UK still has a love of French champagne - 32.7 million bottles were imported from France last year, making the UK the second-largest champagne market outside of France.

Waitrose’s English wine buyer, Rebecca Hull, said: “The success of English wine is a culmination of dedication and effort from some talented winemakers across the country who have gradually built the reputation of our wines from the ground up.”