A campaign to name British dry sparkling wines “Merret” has launched to recognise the claim that what drinkers of champagne (French), Cava (Spanish) and Prosecco (Italian) enjoy was first brought to the world by an English doctor, Christopher Merret.

Reportedly Merret gave details of a “second fermentation process” – very similar to the “methode champenoise” – in 1662, 22 years before a French monk, Dom Pierre Perignon claimed to have invented what the French call “champagne”.

In recent years the quality of English sparkling wines has improved so significantly that there is a view that there would be benefit in distinguishing them from the French product, like the producers of Cava and Prosecco have done. Sweet sparkling wines have also become more popular than dry versions.

Italy has recently overtaken France as the world’s largest wine producer.

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