Will Gareth Southgate’s men go on to lift the Jules Rimet trophy after the World Cup final on Saturday? Instead of looking at tea-leaves or balls of the crystal variety to predict a positive outcome, you should perhaps look at French grapes – sour or otherwise.
Historically, England’s best showings at major tournaments have all occurred in the same years as above-average vintages in France. So could 2018 be the best yet?
1966 was largely hailed as ’Very Good’ in France (including Bordeaux and the Rhone) and ‘Outstanding’ in Burgundy.
Then, in 1990, the last time England reached a World Cup Semi Final, during a year when the Rhone, Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy all recorded ‘Outstanding’ vintages.
Again, in 1996 – the year of England’s most recent Top Four placing at a major competition – the grapes came good too with Burgundy and Champagne both recording ‘Outstanding’ once more.
Coincidence? Almost certainly, but Richard Weaver, trading director at Majestic, believes it may be more:
“Great vintages are all about the weather and it may well be that what’s good for the grapes is also good for our players. When the Cup has been competed north of the equator with good weather to match, both French wine and English football seem to benefit.”
Although it is far too early to predict this year’s crop quality we have seen successive poor harvests in France over the past few years – so fingers will be crossed on both sides of the English Channel this Summer.
“Time will tell how the 2018 French vintage stacks up, but the England performance in Russia and the feel-good feeling back home have both been helped by this warm spell so let’s hope that we see a great harvest that will allow us to toast the memory of a spectacular victory!” adds Weaver.