Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket, is forecasting that English sparkling wine will be the ’surprise’ hit of the festive season.

In the last year, the retail giant has seen around a third of its Champagne customers switch to buying English sparkling wine. It expects a record number of bottles to appear on dinner tables this Christmas. 

Tesco’s champagne and sparkling wine buyer Rob Dixon said: “The incredible success of prosecco over the last few years has opened the cellar door for other quality sparkling wines and this year early sales suggest English fizz will make it on to the Christmas table for the first time.”

Demand for brands such as Chapel Down Brut and rosé and Tesco Finest English sparkling wine, made by Hush Heath Estate, have grown by more than 60% across the UK market, according to wine retail specialist CGA.

However, while the popularity of English sparkling wines has soared, prosecco remains the nation’s favourite fizz at Tesco, with demand up by 20%, compared with 2016. Tesco said it had seen strong growth in ‘super size’ or larger formats of the Italian fizz.

Ralph Patel, owner of The Lock-In, in Surrey, has seen the popularity of sparkling wine grow among his customers, especially when the product is local.

”The recent popularity of processco has meant that more retailers are looking to stock sparkling wine,” he said. “If that wine is local then it gains even more trust with shoppers and it has been a great product for independent retailers to latch on to. When shoppers know the product comes from their own country or area it is a great sales opportunity to take advantage of.

“Sales always peak at Christmas because people are more inclined to buy premium sparkling wine. The rest of the year people look for value, but that seems to go out the window in Decemeber and sparkling wine sales just keep going up.” 

Continental Wine & Food Ltd marketing manager Amy Giacobbi added: “Sparkling wines remain a favourite not only at this time of year but all year round, as people have developed a real taste for the fizz.

“Because there are very few bottles of wine available for less than the £5 mark, consumers are more willing to try something different within their price range, whether it be exploring a new country of origin, or trying a new grape variety. Therefore, besides the old favourites, retailers will be looking to add some exciting new choices for the festive period and beyond.”