Rioja, Bordeaux, Chablis. Think of the great wine regions of the world, and the chances are the West Midlands will not readily spring to mind.
But over the last few years there has been an increasing recognition that English wines can now compete with the best in the world.
Changes to the climate, improved growing techniques and advances in technology have all helped English wine producers match their continental neighbours.
And Clive Vickers of the Halfpenny Green Vineyard in Bobbington, near Stourbridge, says this year’s weather has produced the perfect conditions for a vintage crop.
Mr Vickers, who runs the vineyard with his father Martin, says that the late cold winter, followed by the hot spell during the summer should make for a bumper harvest this year.
“We couldn’t have written it better,” he says. “Our average crop is usually around 40 to 50 tons, but we’re looking at 75 tons this year.
“We’re hoping this will be felt both in the quality of our wines, and the quality we will be able to supply.
“If you get high sugar levels, that puts more flavour in when you make the wine.
“If you get a good year, and you compare them back to back, you will get a fruitier, less acidic flavour, with a softer finish.”
Mr Vickers, who is 46, says this year’s record harvest will make up for a disastrous time in 2012, when the wash-out summer hit the crop drastically.
“Some people said last year was the worst year we had in 100 years to grow wine, and I don’t think they were far wrong.”
However, Halfpenny Green still managed to hit the headlines last year by producing a red wine with a record strength of 15 per cent, helped by the Indian summer of 2011.
Dave Gardener, who runs the Nickolls & Perks wine merchants in Stourbridge, says there has been a considerable improvement in the quality of English wines over the last few years, and similar climatic conditions means that there is very little to choose between sparkling English wines and the more prestigious Champagne.
“A lot of it is to do with climate change,” he says. “There have been a lot of wine growers from France coming over and buying up land in the south of England.
“They are looking ahead to the next 30 years, it is a long game for them, they are finding it is getting too hot in France, so they are looking at setting up vineyards here.”
While Mr Vickers said: “This year’s harvest should make for some very interesting wines next year.”
He says the trend towards buying locally sourced food and drink has helped bolster interest in English wines. “Years ago people didn’t care how far their wine had travelled, but these days people like to buy wine that is produced near to the shop they buy it from.”
He says that while nearly all the wine that is produced at Halfpenny Green is consumed locally, there is an emerging market for English wines in Asia. “The Chinese in particular, are getting into their wines more. It would be very hard for us to export to France, French wines are so popular, but there is interest in India and China.