Prosecco sales soar as Britons develop a thirst for sparkling wines
Britain's growing thirst for prosecco and cava has created an 80% rise in sparkling wine sales in the last five years, according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) figures.
Around 17.6 million gallons of the sparkling wines were sold in 2011/12, and that has shot to an estimated 31.6 million gallons in 2015/16, according to accountancy group UHY Hacker Young.
The majority of sparkling wine is imported from established wine-producing nations such as France, Spain and Italy - but more is now being made at home.
In 2015 there were 37 new wine producers and vineyards who opened in England, reflecting the growing recognition of home-grown produce.
An English 2010 sparkling vintage which appeared on fine wine trading platform Liv-ex for the first time was hailed as a "landmark moment" in early August.
James Simmonds, a partner at Hacker Young, said the new figures were a "great boost" for English producers who had shown their products to be a "viable alternative".
He said: "Not only is the growing success of English sparkling wine encouraging more to come to the market but more established names are now looking to expand into new stages of growth.
"Vineyards provide businesses with numerous opportunities to diversify and offer additional services such as shops, cafes, wine-tastings, events and weddings as well as producing wine.
"These add-ons can be effective ways for new producers to supplement their income whilst waiting for their wine to mature.
"It's uncertain what will happen after Brexit to UK imports of prosecco and Champagne, but what is clear is that no matter what happens English sparkling wine is already a viable alternative."
Cava and prosecco are two of the most popular types of affordable champagne alternatives, with many bottles sold for less than £10.