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Battle of the Bubbles: English and New Zealand Fizz go head to head to celebrate Cricket World Cup

February 10th, 2015


As England prepares to meet New Zealand in Wellington in the ICC Cricket World Cup on Friday 20th February, an alternative match between these two countries will take place, with New Zealand and English sparkling wine pitching against each other in the ‘Battle of the Bubbles’, taking place on the eve of the bit match itself.

Each country has selected a top team of eleven players, plus a ‘twelfth man’, to go head to head with each other in a blind taste off.  The team captains for each side: international wine personality Oz Clarke for England and New Zealand-based Master of Wine Jane Skilton for New Zealand, will be out in Wellington and head up a panel of wine writers, commentators and cricketing internationals to select the winners in the competition, which will then be announced at an evening reception.

All the competing wines are from award-winning wineries and are produced from the classic varieties used in Champagne and using the same method of wine production.

 “This promises to be a thrilling match,” commented Oz Clarke. “Both countries are now world-renowned for the quality of their fizz and to meet head to head in this keenly-anticipated match will certainly highlight the fabulous quality of these two nations’ wines.

“We don’t anticipate any sledging or intimidatory tactics, because that simply wouldn’t be cricket.  But, of course, this isn’t cricket is it? Perhaps I’ll take my box after all.”

The ‘battle’ will also be held in London on Thursday afternoon, 19th February, hosted by New Zealand Winegrowers where the invited guests and media can have their say and vote for the winning team and select a ‘man of the match’ award.

Chris Stroud, Marketing Manager (Europe) for New Zealand Winegrowers said: “I think we’re in for a great match – the final teams are all in place and are great examples of what both New Zealand and England are now producing within the sparkling wine sector.”

This was echoed by Julia Trustram Eve, Marketing Director of English Wine Producers who added: “In the world of sparkling wines, England and New Zealand are both talented sides – and will be more than meeting their match.  This is a great opportunity to showcase some of the best of both, and against the backdrop of the Cricket World Cup – nothing like a bit of healthy competition either!”

land fizz, and against the backdrop of the Cricket World Cup – nothing like a bit of healthy competition either! We’re really thrilled that Oz will be captaining our wines out in Wellington.”

Team captain: Jane Skilton MW
Akarua Rosé Brut
Daniel Le Brun Blanc de Blancs 2009
Deutz Blanc de Blancs 2010
Huia Brut 2009
Hunter’s MiruMiru
Lindauer Special Reserve Brut Cuvée
Nautilus Cuvée Brut
No. 1 Family Estate No. 1 Cuvée Blanc de Blancs
Osawa Prestige Collection Méthode Traditionnelle
Quartz Reef Méthode Traditionnelle 2009
Seresin Moana Blanc 2009
Tohu Rewa Blanc de Blancs 2011

The wines for the England team were selected by Oz along with Stephen Skelton MW, Sommelier Mike Harrison and Julia Trustram Eve of English Wine Producers.

The twelve men come from South East to the South West and include some long established brands to ‘new kids on the block’. All the wines are produced with the traditional varieties and encompass a variety of styles including Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, Classic Cuvée and rosé.

Team captain: Oz Clarke
Ambriel English Reserve NV
Bluebell Hindleap Blanc de Blancs 2010
Camel Valley White Pinot 2010
Coates & Seely Blanc de Blancs NV
Hambledon Classic Cuvée NV
Henners Brut Reserve 2010
Hush Heath Balfour Brut Rosé 2010
Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs 2007
Plumpton The Dean Brut NV
Sugrue Pierre South Downs 2011
Wiston South Downs Blanc de Blancs NV
Wyfold Brut 2010