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07.12.2011

Stupid Wine Name of the Century

By night I write here about wine. By day I spend my time in the world of branding, customer experience, and marketing. As a result, I have a higher tolerance for, and a keen understanding of the value that brands hold in the marketplace, and an appreciation for efforts to differentiate in a crowded field.

All of this by way of saying that I can appreciate the idea of coming up with a distinctive name to use when referring to sparkling wine made in England. The Spanish have Cava, the Italians have Franciacorta and Spumante, after all.

But "Britagne?" You've got to be joking.

Pronounced "bri-TAN-yay" or something close to that, I suppose it is supposed to convey the elegance of Champagne while remaining decidedly, well, British.

Never mind that most everyone will try to pronounce it "brit-AYNE" given the immediate analog to Champagne. Never mind that the rest of the English speaking world does fine with referring to their wines as Sparkling Wines without much of a problem. Never mind that by using a neologism that basically has a French etymology you're undermining your efforts to try to create something distinctly English.

Even ignoring all of that, it's just lame.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud