Waitrose has unveiled plans to plant vines in England to help satisfy the growing demand for UK wine.

A first for a UK retailer, Waitrose will plant the vines next year on its 4,000 acre (1,620 ha) farm in Hampshire. The wine it produces, to be labelled English Fizz, will hit Waitrose shelves in 2014.

English wine buyer Justin Howard-Sneyd said: “Our customers are really enthusiastic about English wines. In addition to the sparkling wine, the vineyard also provides an opportunity to connect our wine specialists to the production cycle of the vineyard and enhance their education about how wine is made.”

Yesterday, John Lewis Partnership reported pre-tax profits up 18.7 per cent to£379.8 million in its full-year results. Total sales at Waitrose rose 6.8 per cent to just under£4 billion and like-for-like sales (excluding petrol) climbed 3.6 per cent.

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