Figures from UHY Hacker Young, a national accountancy group, showed that there were 34.4m gallons of sparkling wine on sale in 2016-17, compared to 31.6m in 2015-16 – a 76% rise on five years ago when it was 19.5m gallons in 2012-13.
Italian Prosecco and Spanish Cava have become increasingly popular as a more upmarket alternative to still wine, and as a cheaper substitute for Champagne, while Aperol Spritz, the traditional Italian Prosecco-based cocktail, was now ubiquitous on drinks menus, the researchers said.
Separate figures by the HMRC show the English wine industry is growing – in 2016, 64 new wine producers and vineyards were launched, a 73% increase on the previous year when 37 opened.
“Sparkling wine has become increasingly democratised – and sales are soaring as a result,” James Simmonds, partner at UHY Hacker Young said.
“Some of the best premium products can hold their own against Champagne in the tasting stakes and there is a huge variety of great sparkling wines available at price points that are roughly similar to still wines, so there’s real strength in the market.”
“English vineyards have established an impressive reputation at home and abroad for their fine sparkling wines, so this is a boon for the UK’s home-grown industry.”
Frazer Thompson, chief executive of leading English sparkling wine producer Chapel Down, said: “English wines are no longer the poor relation. Significant amounts of investment, dedication and expertise are helping to create the kind of quality that can rival products from France, Italy, Spain or the New World.
“English brands, like Chapel Down, are disrupting the market and stealing market share from renowned Champagne houses. However, these disruptors are no mere flash in the pan.”
Simmonds added: “With the weak pound putting upward pressure on the price of imported Prosecco, Champagne and Cava thanks to Brexit, English sparkling wine is likely to become even more appetising to consumers.”
Earlier this year, campaigners expressed concern that bottomless Prosecco brunches were making binge drinking acceptable among middle-class women.