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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.


SWVA's 2017 AGM and Spring Meeting to be at Aldwick Court Farm and Vineyard near Bristol

SWVA members will be gathering for their spring meeting and 2017 AGM at Aldwick Court Farm and Vineyard on 7th March this year by kind invitation of Sandy Luck. This is always a popular occasion for producers to escape the rigours of winter pruning and compare notes on progress.

As well as the formal proceedings there will be an update from Sam Lindo of Cornwall's Camel Valley Vineyards, until recently Chairman of our parent organisation, the UK Vineyards Association, on moves towards unity with English Wine Producers, the marketing organisation for the biggest commercial vineyards. Sam was responsible during his tenure as Chair for boosting the capacity of the UKVA to enable it to develop into a more effective trade association for producers, to fit the rising reputation and scale of the English wine industry. This has led indirectly to the current negotiations to become a single organisation.

Another outcome is a new, more consumer orientated, higher profile national annual competition, to be known as the UK Wine Awards, which is starting this year. Results are due in English Wine Week at the end of May. Members will be keen to catch up with the latest news on this as the entry date approaches.

Aldwick Court Farm and Vineyard is at Redhill, close to Bristol airport.Aldwick_Court_Farm There are two vineyards, the first was planted in 2008 in approximately two acres of Homefield. Bordering the main drive to the Farmhouse complex, this was laid out with 2000 vines in blocks of Seyval Blanc, Early Pinot Noir, and Bacchus. In 2010, plantings were expanded into Woodlands, the south-westerly facing, hillside field overlooking Aldwick Lane.  Grape varieties here include Regent and Solaris, late ripening Pinot Noir, Seyval Blanc, and Bacchus – the 4th most widely grown wine grape in England. Together they total 8,900 vines spread over 9 acres.

Having failed to thrive, the 500 Homefield Bacchus vines were grubbed up and replaced in 2011 with 600 Madeleine Angevine – another ‘classic’ English wine grape.

Aldwick is a wedding venue, and aims to provide its own high quality wine for the enjoyment of its clients and their guests. It has been regularly winning awards since 2013, and in December landed a prestigious Silver Medal in Tranche 1 of the 2017 International Wine Challenge.

Members can find the programme and application forms in the Members Area/Notices and News for Members.


Herefordshire’s Castle Brook Wins SW Wine of the Year

Herefordshire’s Castle Brook Wins SW Wine of the Year


At the South West Vineyards Association Annual Competition, held this year at Knightor Winery near St Austell in Cornwall, Castle Brook Classic Cuvée 2010 won the top gold medal and trophy for the Sparkling White class, narrowly beating other gold medal wines from Camel Valley, Lyme Bay Winery and Sharpham. After a taste-off against gold medal winners from other classes, it was awarded the SWVA Wine of the Year trophy by the team of judges led by Patricia Stefanowicz MW.

Castle Brook had also won this prestigious award in 2014 with their 2009 sparkling wine, Chinn Chinn.

155 Wines entered




There were 155 wines entered for the competition, all produced by members of the SWVA. They were judged at Knightor on Monday 12th September by a team of seven judges, all qualified in wine assessment and including several experienced international competition judges. They awarded 10 gold medals, 36 silvers and 65 bronzes. The results were announced at a full members meeting and following an excellent awards lunch, the following day, Tuesday 13th September. The judging is pictured left.

Trophy Winners

Other  major trophy winners were:

Sharpham Estate, Devon – Best Dry White: “Sharpham Bacchus 2014”.
Trevibban Mill, Cornwall: Best Dry Oaked White,”Constantine 2014”.
Three Choirs, Gloucestershire, Best Non-dry White, “Cellar Door Noble Harvest 2014”.
Lovells Vineyard Worcestershire, Best Rosé, “Sonatina Rosé 2015”.
Stocklands Vineyard, Somerset, Best Red “Greenhill Estate Pinot Noir 2015”.
Camel Valley, Cornwall, Best Sparkling Rosé, “Camel Valley 2013 Pinot Noir Rosé”.

Non-commercial trophy winners were Westhope Hill  for the best non-commercial non-dry white and best non-commercial sparkling white and Northend Vineyard for the best non-commercial red. Tony Griffin of Northen Vineyard won the trophy for the best small-scale winemaker.

The Gillian Pearkes Trophy for the best contribution to the SWVA went to Alina Stankus for her work on the competition.

The Judges

The judges were Patricia Stefanowicz MW (Chair) who has led the judging for the SWVA competition foir a number of years, Lindsey Oram (WSET Diploima, AWE, IWSC judge), Jemma Mitchell (WSET Diploma and Educator), Tim Johnson (WoEWSA, WSET Diploma and Educator), Ed Adams MW (Wine Importer), Peter Csizmadia-Honigh (international wine judge), Richard Coulson (IWSC judge).

The SWVA Team


The SWVA team were Alina Stankus (SWVA Competition secretary, overall organisation), Simon Boyce (who prepared the bottles and organized the flights for judging) and Jane Awty (who entered the judges scores). Here (right) are Simon and Alina setting out a class of wines ready for judging, wrapped in foil to ensure anonymity.


Awards Ceremony

Before the awards, UKVA Chair Sam Lindo outlined to members where talks exploring unity with English Wine Producers, the marketing arm of the industry, had reached.

Patricia Stefanowicz reviewed the wines, noting that the medals Included wines from non commercial vineyards and some really impressed the panel. She commended the Reds - many were really successful, the trophy-winner almost gold medal standard and some good silvers. The rosés were really mixed. Balance is crucial in rosés, but there were good golds, silvers and bronzes. Dry whites were subdivided, with eleven in the separate class for the Bacchus grape and all got an award. That reinforces the suitability of the Bacchus grape for this climate. The top Bacchus was a finalist for Wine of the Year. A lot of so2 in the other dry whites, which made tasting difficult, but some were delightful.  The oaked whites were interesting, the judges enjoyed them, noting good, judicious use of oak. The medium dry wines were ok, but the medium sweet were glorious. Sparkling wines were superb, the whites stellar, 4 golds were awarded. The rosé sparkling were more mixed, the judges gave 2 golds - beware of too much dosage! Overall, Patricia commented, "SW wines are a constellation shining from the heavens!"

The individual awards were then announced by SWVA Vice Chair Guy Smith and presented by Patricia Stefanowicz with the help of Simon Boyce.

The day in pictures:

Knightor_outdoors Producers_in_the_wineryKnightor_Winery Winetastinglunch Sam_Lindo_Chair_UKVA Duncan_Schwab_Sharpham Liz_Mumcuoglu_Trevibban_Mill Ben_Hawker_Three_Choirs Mark_Thorp_Stocklands Sam_Lindo Tony_Griffin Alina_Stankus

Pictured above:

SW producers tour of the Knightor winery; the pre-lunch tasting of the competition wines; lunch in the Knightor restaurant; Sam Lindo speaking in his role as UKVA Chair pictured with Guy Smith, SWVA vice chair;  Duncan Schwab of Sharpham Estate receiving the trophy for best dry white from Patricia Stefanowicz;  Liz Mumcuoglu of Trevibban Mill receiving the Best Oaked White trophy; Ben Hawker of Three Choirs receiving the Best Non-Dry White trophy; Mark Thorp of Stocklands Vineyard receiving the Best Red Trophy; Sam Lindo of Camel Valley receiving the Best Sparkling Rosé trophy; Tony Griffin of Northend Vineyard receiving the Best Non-Commercial Winemaker trophy and Alina Stankus receiving the trophy for the best contribution to the SWVA.

Full results here>>


Bristol Tasting

SWVA Bristol Tasting 2016 - "A real success"

The SWVA’s Bristol trade tasting was pronounced a resounding success. The public tasting which followed it, this year formed a part of the major Bristol Food Connections event. The upstairs function room at The Boardroom in St Nicholas St was packed to the gunwhales. The event was a collaborative effort between participating vineyards, The Boardroom and Bristol Food Connections, with SWVA Vice Chair Guy Smith of Somerset's Smith&Evans vineyard organising.

The venue was smaller and more intimate than last year’s Bordeaux Quay, forcing a limit on the number of exhibitors, the number of invited trade representatives and tickets available for the public. Participating vineyards were Aldwick Court Farm & Vineyards, Camel Valley, Dunleavy, Fenny Castle, Smih & Evans, Oatley, Sutton Ridge and Wraxall.

Exhibitors, wine trade professionals and the venue all seemed pleased with the opportunity to show and taste some of the West Country’s  best wines at a single occasion and the event looks set to become an annual fixture. 


Bristol Food Connections commissioned Bristol-based Guardian wine critic Fiona Beckett to review a selection of the wines being exhibited as a prelude to the event and you can read her report here:


BBC Radio Bristol covered the event with @TV'sAndyClarke talking to Laura Rawlings about the emergence of quality English wines from the SW, together with the asparagus fest, also part of Bristol Food Connections, where the Chinn family's Herefordshire Castle Brook Vineyard were showing their fizz,  current holder of the SWVA Wine of the Year trophy, and their asparagus. You can listen 1 hr 53 mins into the show here>>

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A selection of Tweets from the night and the next day gives a flavour of the enthusiasm of attendees and exhibitors...

The Board Room @theboardroom1Wine tasting going on right now, itv filming, woohoo


SWVA‪@SWVineyardsUK May 5: In full flow at our Bristol tasting!


SWVA‪@SWVineyardsUK May 5: Crikey its hotting up here !


AverysWineMerchants @averyswine: Brilliant tasting #Englishwines at their best Following

Alexander Taylor @tastebristol: So excited about #English #wine right now. What a great showcase tasting. Thanks  @SWVineyardsUK and @Bristolconnect. To the future! ... 

Pete Axford (Bristol photographer)@PeteAxford: Brilliant turnout at #Englishwine tasting tonight 


The Board Room @theboardroom1: it was great. Perfect chance to sample what the West has to offer. All to be available shortly at the boardroomFollowing 

Brockley Stores‪@BrockleyStores Good to meet local winemakers and taste some fantastic local wines tonight ollowing 

The best of the ‪#southwest tasting ‪#wine great people, great wines!!! Thank you!!

Jane Awty@OatleyVineyardGreat ‪@Bristolconnect wine fair last night at The Boardroom Bristol! Packed and enthusiastic!…

Luke Ford‪@SuttonRidgeWine May 5:‪@SuttonRidgeWine May 5: Great afternoon showing off the south wests wines! Thanks for organising ‪@Guythegrape. Great evening tasting session. Well done southwest vineyards

Aldwick Court Farm‪@AldwickCourtFrm May 6Fab tasting event with our neighbouring South West Vineyards & Traders yesterday ‪@theboardroom1 ‪@Bristolconnect

SWVA‪@SWVineyardsUK May 6Great night @Bristolconnect/SWVA wine fest last night. Look out on @itvnews

The SWVA's Exeter tasting will be on June 20th details>>



Impressive medal haul for SW Vineyards in IWSC

South West Vineyards results in the IWSC Awards    Unknown

Seven South West wine producers were awarded 18 medals in the International Wine and Spirit Competition results for Eastern Europe, Asia, USA, Canada, Portugal, Germany, Austria and the United Kingdom, announced on 3rd May. Although in the past relatively few SW vineyards entered this competition, numbers are rising, and this year's excellent results for English wine producers will encourage future entries.

Out of 46 Gold and Gold Outstanding medals, Portugal and Canada took the lead, with Canada scooping 13 of these (11 of for their famous Icewine) and 18 for Portugal. Hot on their heels was England with a record breaking 7 Gold Medals, bolstering England’s position amongst the great wine producing countries of the world.

Gold Medal for Dorset's Langham

One of the Golds came to the SW, to Dorset’s Langham Winery for their sparkling Blanc de Blancs 2011. Others were awarded to vineyards from the SE: Chapel Down, Court Garden, Nutbourne, Nyetimber (2), Ridgeview.

Camel Valley, Furleigh and Langham were awarded Silver Outstanding, all for sparkling wines.

For still wines there were Silvers for white wines from Lyme Bay (2) and Camel Valley and for a red for Sixteen Ridges.

Congratulations to all SW medal winners.

Full results for SW vineyards below

Lyme Bay  Winery

Bacchus Block 2015 Silver

Pinot Noir Rosé 2015 - Bronze

Shoreline 2015 – Silver

Camel Valley

Chardonnay Brut 2014 Silver

Cornwall Brut 2013 Silver

Cuvee Raymond Blanc 2014 Silver

Darnibole Bacchus Silver

Pinot Noir Rosé Brut Silver Outstanding


Classic Cuvée 2013 Bronze

Two Moors 2015 - Bronze


Classic Cuvée 2011 Silver Outstanding


Blanc de Blancs 2011 – Gold

Classic Cuvée 2011 – Silver Outstanding

Sixteen Ridges

Pinot Noir Red 2014 – Silver

Rosé Pinot Noir 2014 – Bronze

Sparkling Signature Cuvée – Silver

Sparkling Rosé 2013 – Silver

Trevibban Mill

Sparkling Brut 2013 - Bronze

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