Fish negotiations might be off the menu, and the Brexit chips seem to be down. But a one-week battle between French and UK wineries might just have led to a tasty new name for the latter’s sparkling wine producers: Sovereign Method.
Battle of Britagne
‘We’ve never know what to call our fizz,’ said Madeleine Angevine, head of the Society of Producers of English Wine (SPEW). ‘”English sparkling wine” sounds really boring. “Britpop” is too puerile, and “Britagne” is just crap.
‘So it’s great that we’ve finally got a solution – and so fitting that we owe it all to an unnecessary battle with our dear friends over the channel.’
The ‘Battle of the Bubbles’ began last month when Sir Ian Numbskulle-Smith, owner of Altright Estate, announced that as of January 1st he would be relabelling his sparkling wine as ‘méthode champenoise’.
‘Since we will no longer be bound by EU rules, it seems only right and proper to revive this time-honoured term in homage to Champagne,’ said Numbeskulle-Smith. ‘Which of course we invented.’
Not so Jolie
Numbskulle-Smith’s pronouncements went down like the Hindenberg across the Channel, with titans of the French wine scene from Bruno Prats to Angelina Jolie lining up to condemn the move.
‘This is the most offensive thing since Boris Johnson told Angela Merkel the joke about two nuns and a bratwurst,’ said Bill Cart-Salmon, president of the Groupe de Producteurs de Reims (GDPR). ‘We will not tolerate it and will pointlessly block autoroutes until the decision is outlawed.’
SPEW described Cart-Salmon’s comments as ‘unhelpful and counter-productive.’
‘Most of our members had no intention of changing the description on their bottles,’ said Angevine. ‘But when they saw how much it annoyed the French, they couldn’t resist and they all began doing it.
‘On a professional level, I condemn their behaviour. But speaking in a personal capacity, it’s hard to pass up the chance to turn a Frenchman purple with fury.’
Carry on Compromising
As relations worsened last week, and got caught up in the Brexit negotiations, there was a very real possibility that the Bataille de Boulles would lead to the French stopping shipments of all drinks into the UK except for overpriced mineral water.
This scenario, known in diplomatic circles as ‘un eau d’isle Brexit’, forced SPEW into gaming compromise solutions at the 11th hour (or 12th hour in France).
‘We decided that we needed a message that English sparkling wine is made in England by the English for the English,’ said Ms Angevine. ‘And that’s when we came up with the term “Sovereign Method”.
‘The queen thought it was a great idea – even though she’s essentially a German married to a Greek.’
“Sovereign Method” is already in the process of being approved by legislators. It’s appearance on labels is being timed to coincide with the wholesale collapse of the UK economy in January 2021.
‘This is a good lesson in the necessity for compromise in politics,’ said Cart-Salmon.
‘It is just not acceptable that one country can break the rules, make things up as it goes along and deliberately antagonise its neighbours.
‘Unless, of course, that country is France.’