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IEWA 2018 Results: Langham wins Top Sparkling Wine

    1. Second Year of Independent English Wine Awards

    2. The Wine Competition season this year kicked off with the Independent English Wine Awards2018_THE_IEWA_MEDAL_OBVERSE_SIDE_GOLD
    3. (The IEWA), which held its second annual judging at the historic Rummer Hotel, Bristol on 17 March 2018. In the second year of this Competition it attracted 88 entries from 22 different counties, a rise on its first year.
    4. The competition awarded 72 medals, up from last year's 54: 13 gold, 28 silver and 31 bronze, with winners a near even split between sparkling and still wines. 
    5. Langham Estate wins Top Sparkling Wine

    6. The title of top sparkling wine of the competition was awarded to Dorset's Langham Estate's 2014 Sparkling Rosé. 
    7. Other Golds for SWVA members were Lyme Bay Winery's red Pinot Noir 2016 and Worcestershire's Astley Vineyard Sparkling Kerner 2014. 
    8. SWVA member Silver Medals went to three 2016 Bacchus wines, from Polgoon, Aldwick Court Farm and Astley, two sparklers from Lyme Bay, their Blanc de Noirs 2014 and Classic Cuvée 2013 and also their 2017 Bacchus, to Langham's Blanc de Noirs 2013, Three Choirs Classic Cuvée NV and Dunleavy's still Pinot Noir Rosé 2016.

    9. SWVA Bronzes were: Three Choirs Siegerrebe 2016, Astley Old Vine Kerner 2015, Langham's Classic Cuvée 2014, Lyme Bay Chardonnay 2016, Fenny Castle Blanc de Noirs 2015, Polgoon  Rondo 2016, Oatley Leonora's 2014, Dalwood Brut 2015, Oatley Barrel Matured 2016, Three Choirs Coleridge Hill 2016. 

    10. The 18-person judging panel was chaired by Master of Wine Liam Steevenson, and sub-chaired by winemaker Ben Hulland, Champagne buyer Alex Schuster and drinks writer Cherry Constable, with panel members drawn from across the wine spectrum, from merchant, to broadcaster, to knowledgeable consumer.
    11. Judging was carried out by blind tasting, with scoring submitted via a digital platform, with gold medals then tasted again by the panel chairs to verify results and establish ‘trophy’ wines for both sparkling and still.
    12. Chair of Judges: "Lyme Bay Red: Pinot Noir that the Burgundians would be proud of"

    13. Judging panel chair Liam Steevenson MW noted of English wine: “What cannot be disputed anymore is that England and its talented group of enthusiastic producers are creating wines that compete in style and quality with anything the rest of the world can offer. We are without doubt a wine producing nation! Steevenson went on to reflect of the results: “There is real strength in the sparkling and white categories, and for me those that dared to be 'English' in style rather than try and emulate French counterparts really stood out. For all that, my wine of the day was the Lyme Bay red: Pinot Noir that the Burgundians would be very proud of!” 
    14. Founder: "So much to celebrate.."

    15. Event founder, Bristol-based marketer Alexander Taylor commented: “These results really show off the diverse capability of English wine. They show that we’re making compelling wine all over the country, still and sparkling, using a range of grapes and styles - a fantastically broad offering to consumers; Cornwall to Hampshire, Staffordshire to Sussex - medal winning wine is being made all across England. There is such a wide range of styles to choose from. English wine now means genuinely different still and sparkling wines, from our take on international styles, from Classic Cuvées, Blanc de Noirs, Pinots Gris, Blanc and now even Noir (!), to lesser known Ortega, Seyval, and Kerner, and of course our own emergent still wine messiah, Bacchus. There is so much to celebrate in English wine right now - and the results of the IEWA this year simply reflect that. It’s a real privilege to be able to work with producers to help grab people's attention and tell the story" Taylor said.
  1. Full list of result can be viewed at: https://www.iewa.uk/gallery/2018


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AGM 2018: Aldwick welcomes winegrowers from across the West Country

English wine growers from across the West Country gathered at Aldwick Court Farm and Vineyard on Wednesday 14th March for the South West Vineyards Association Spring Meeting and AGM 2018.SWVA_spring_meeting_2018

 

Many thanks to Sandy Luck, General  Manager and Elizabeth Laver, Vineyard Manager, for their warm hospitality. Sandy is now the Vice Chair of SWVA.

 

This was Guy Smith’s first full meeting as Chair. Guy runs a small vineyard, Smith & Evans with his partner Laura Evans at Aller, Somerset, specialising in English sparkling wine from traditional Champagne varieties. In his day job he works in the wine trade internationally. Guy’s Chairman’s Report set out his vision for taking the SWVA forward in the context of a burgeoning English Wine Industry. We should position ourselves as what we are, mostly small, family-owned-and-run vineyards producing interesting, authentic, different wines.

 

The first guest speaker was David Parkinson, new Chief Executive of the SWVA’s national parent body, “Wines of Great  Britain” (“WineGB”). WineGB is newly-formed, the result of a merger between the former parent body, the UK Vineyards Association, with English Wine Producers, the marketing organisation  of the larger English wine producers.

 

David_Parkinson

 

David (photo left) emphasised the speed at which the industry is growing. A million vines were planted in England and Wales last year and this year could top two million. He outlined the work strands that are going on in the new organisation, many of them involving working groups of regional members, including SWVA members. He will be working with the SWVA in approaching local authorities and tourism bodies to ensure they are fully aware of the potential for tourism and economic development being created by  our West Country wine producers.

 

Over the excellent salad lunch provided by Aldwick Court Farm, Guy

Fizz_tastingorganised a sparkling wine blind tasting in Aldwick's tasting room (photo right). Members blind-tasted a Cava, a Prosecco, a supermarket English Sparkling Wine and three levels of supermarket Champagne: entry level, branded and own-brand vintage. The most-favoured was actually the vintage champagne, a 2009 vintage from Tesco. Only one  member identified all correctly (take a bow, Simon Day!).

 

Robin Snowdon, of Limeburn Hill Biodynamic Vineyard, near Dundry, Bristol, gave an excellent presentation on biodynamic viticulture and winemaking. Limeburn Hill is one of a handful of biodynamic vineyards in Britain and has just produced its first small vintage, all grown and made according to biodynamic principles. We are all looking forward to sampling their wines in due course to taste the difference.

 

At the formal AGM, Caroline Gitsham, Head of Marketing for Langham Estate near Dorchester was welcomed to the committee. Caroline will be taking over from Guy in participating in WineGB's marketing working group. Faye Pratt, Alina Stankus and Alison Routh stood down.

 

If you are interested in joining the SWVA and WineGB, check out the "About"" page of this website and contact Jo Cowderoy, Membership & Operations Manager at WineGB,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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The South West Wine of the Year is ....a STICKY!

Gloucestershire's Three Choirs Vineyard wins the South West Wine of the Year with its dessert wine "Noble Harvest 2015".

Kevin_Shayle

Pictured is winemaker Kevin Shayle from Three Choirs Vineyard, Newent, receiving the SWVA Wine of the Year 2017 trophy for the best wine in the annual competition from chief judge, Patricia Stefanowicz MW.

The Wine of the Year is chosen by the SW Vineyards Association competition judges after a taste-off between the winners of each class of the competition. In recent years it has mainly been won by sparkling wines, so for a dessert wine to win is unusual and welcome.

This year the competition was judged by a team of six judges at Devon's Pebblebed Vineyard, at Clyst St George near Exeter, on 11th September. The awards ceremony was the following day at Pebblebed and attended by member vinegrowers and winemakers from across the south west, from Herefordshire to Cornwall.

Pebblebed's owner Geoff Bowen welcomed members, explaining that Pebblebed's aims were to be a local vineyard with strong community involvement rather than seeking a national or internationl profile. It is staffed only by Geoff and winemaker Alex Mills and run with the help of volunteers and partners, including those from his BBC "Dragon's Den" appearance. Much of the wine is sold through his wine bar in nearby Exmouth. At harvest they welcome between one and two hundred volunteers.

The showery weather was kind on the day and members were able to chat, taste the competition wines, enjoy a delicious salad buffet and listen to the announcement of the competition results out of doors in Pebblebed's courtyard, under the awning.

Chief judge Patricia Stefanowicz reviewed the wine classes, commending particularly the sweet whites and white sparkling, the only classes where judges, judging to international standards, had awarded Gold Medals. The judging team of six, Patricia, Alastair Peebles MW, Jemma Mitchell, Lindsay Oram, Tim Johnson and Richard Coulson contained two Masters of Wine and three who regularly judge international competitions. All are qualified to at least WSET Diploma/Educator level.

Guy Smith (Smith & Evans) announced the results, starting with the news that Ian Edwards (Furleigh Estate) had decided to stand down as SWVA Chair after three years. Guy, as Vice Chair, thanked Ian for all his work, particularly representing the needs of smaller producers so effectively during the negotiations for the merger of UKVA and English Wine Producers. Guy was later confirmed as Chair by the SWVA committee, who met after the event, with Sandy Luck (Aldwick Court Farm) taking over as Vice Chair.

You can see the full results here>> . Wine of the Year was Three Choirs dessert wine "Noble Harvest 2015". Other Golds went to Langham Estates who scooped both of the sparkling wine trophies with "Blanc de Blancs 2014" and "Rosé 2014", to Camel Valley for their "Chardonnay Brut 2014" and to Furleigh Estate for "Blanc de Noirs 2014". Sharpham Estate also won two trophies, for the Best Dry White and Best Rosé.

Trophies for the best wines in each category were:

Best Dry White: Sharpham "Dart Valley Reserve 2016". Winemaker Duncan Schwab.

Best Oaked White: Polgoon "Seyval Blanc-Ortega 2015". Winemaker John Coulson.

Best Non-Dry White: Three Choirs "Noble Harvest 2015". Winemaker Martin Fowke.

Best Rosé: Sharpham "Whole Berry Rosé 2016". Winemaker Duncan Schwab.

Best Red: Three Choirs "Raven's Hill 2016". Winemaker Martin Fowke

Best Sparkling White: Langham Estates "Blanc de Blancs 2014". Winemaker Daniel Ham.

Best Sparkling Rosé: Langham Estates Rosé 2014". Winemaker Daniel Ham.

Best Non-Commercial Dry White Wine: Claylands "white number one". Winemaker Darryl Gill.

Best Small-scale Winemaker: Darryl Gill.

The Gillian Pearkes trophy for best contribution to the work of the SWVA went to Jane Awty.

The event in pictures:

 

Pebblebed_-_farmhouse Arriving_at_Pebblebed  GeoffBowenSpeaking

CompetitionLunch17  Pudding  Trophies Duncan_Schwab JohnCoulsonBestOaked SharphamBestRose Daniel_Ham GillianPearkesTrophy

Pictured above (starting top left), Farmhouse at Pebblebed; members gathering in Pebblebed's courtyard; Geoff Bowen's welcome speech in their tasting/function room; buffet lunch under the awning; pudding; SWVA trophies set out for the open-air prize-giving; Sharpham's Duncan Schwab receiving the trophy for Best Dry White from Patricia Stefanowicz, on the right Guy Smith; Polgoon's John Coulson receiving the trophy for the Best Oaked White; Sharpham's young winemakers Tommy Grimshaw and Charlie Brown collecting the trophy for Best Rosé; Langham's winemaker Daniel Ham collecting BOTH fizz trophies; Jane Awty (Oatley) receiving the Gillian Pearkes bowl for services to the SWVA.

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SWVA AGM and Spring Meeting at Aldwick Court Farm and Vineyard

 

SWVA Members gathered for a welcome day out from winter pruning to meet friends and colleagues 2017_AGMat delightful Aldwick Court Farm and Vineyard, at Redhill near Bristol, on 7th March, by kind invitation of Sandy Luck.

 

Ian Edwards, Chairman, outlined first the recent developments in the organisation of the UKVA, including the creation by retiring UKVA Chair Sam Lindo of the UKVA Management Committee, as an extra resource to drive developments. The major outcome had been the appointment of CEO Barry Lewis and the negotiations towards unity with the marketing organisation of the large producers, English Wine Producers. There is still detail to be sorted out but the merger looks set to go ahead, with Extraordinarly General Meetings of both organisations expected in late spring to consider the proposals.

 

Jane Awty, a small-vineyard member of the Management Committee and an SWVA member has been  serving on the group that has been developing new proposals for the UK national wine competition, and presented details. The new competition will be known as the UK Wine Awards and will be a more consumer-facing event than the old English and Welsh Wine of the Year Competition. It has new sponsors and will have a higher profile, revised classes and a slightly earlier date, to allow results to be published for English Wine Week. Details will be publicised shortly.

 

Roger Eynon, a former SWVA member and steam rail enthusiast outlined a high profile English Wine Event planned for Midsummer’s Day at Avon Valley Railway’s HQ. Roger invited members to participate, free of charge, in showing and selling their wines. English Wine Producers will be taking a table to showcase award winners in the UK Wine Awards.

 

After the formal part of the meeting members enjoyed a delicious curry lunch and walked the Aldwick Court Vineyard with vineyard manager Elizabeth  Laver, while the committee met to plan for the year’s events.

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Competition to find the SW Wine of the Year 2017

SWVA Competition judging

Judging 11 September

Judging took place today, Monday 11 September at Pebblebed Vineyard near Exeter for the South West Vineyards Association's  annual  competition for its members' West-Country-grown wines.

The team of six judges was led by Patricia Stefanowicz MW. Other judges were Lindsay Oram, Alastair Peebles MW, Tim Johnson, Gemma Mitchell and Richard Coulson. Wines are divided into classes: Dry white, with separate divisions for oaked wines and wines from the Bacchus grape, medium dry and medium sweet whites, rosé, red, sparkling and sparkling rosés. This year there were just over 100 entries, with more reds and less whites in comparison to past years.

Last year's SWVA competition was shown on BBC1's popular "Farmers' Country Showdown" series, broadcast in spring 2017, with Cornwall family-run vineyards Polgoon and Camel Valley featured as going head to head.

Results of the 2017 competition will be announced tomorrow, 12th September at a members' meeting and awards ceremony, also to be held at at Pebblebed Vineyard. Medals and a trophy will be awarded for each class. The highlight of the day is the announcement of the Wine of the Year, decided after a taste-off of the trophy winners. Watch this space for the results.

Wines are judged "blind" - each wine has its entry number on its neck and is shrouded in a black bag so that it is not identifiable by the judges. Numbers are known only to the competition organisers.

Pictured below are the judging team, and at the bottom the competition support team, drawn from the SWVA Committee and led by Alina Stankus

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Alastair Peebles, Tim Johnson, Jemma Mitchell, Patricia Stefanowicz, Lindsay Oram, Richard Coulson.
Simon Boyce, Jane Awty, Kevin McGrath, Alina Stankus
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