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The Albion cure

Drink English. That may be the lesson of a new study in Scientific Reports on why imbibing red wine can flush faces and set off headaches. Quercetin is marked down as the culprit – a benign compound with unfortunate side effects when mixed with alcohol. Grapes from sunnier climes have higher concentrations; cabernets from California’s balmy Napa Valley may be especially delinquent. The answer surely is to turn to reds from England, one of viticulture’s harsher frontiers. There are more northerly producers – Finland has a burgeoning industry – but they unfortunately have exceptionally long sunshine hours during the growing season. Only around 5 per cent of UK production is red (68 per cent of our wine sparkles), around 600,000 bottles per year. Will it be enough once the news gets out?

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