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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".


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.


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


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

The New UK Wine Awards: Stellar Array of Judges taste 300 wines in Glamorous Hotel du Vin, Wimbledon

The New UK Wine Awards: Stellar Array of Judges taste 300 wines in Glamorous Hotel du Vin, Wimbledon


  UKWAlogo  Cannizaro_House 


A team of judges led by Oz Clarke and Susie Barrie MW (of the BBC's "Saturday Kitchen") tasted over 300 English and Welsh wines entered into the new UK Wine Awards on Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th May. The competition is sponsored this year by Waitrose, Hotel du Vin and Country Life magazine. Judging took place in the stunning Cannizaro House, Hotel du Vin Wimbledon. 

Judges included big names in the wine world including Hamish Anderson, Jane Parkinson, Christine Parkinson, Richard Hemming MW, Elizabeth Kelly, Alex Hunt MW, David Bird MW, Becky Hull MW and Rebecca Palmer.    


     Oz_Clarke_judging       Susie_Barrie  Oz Clarke and Susie Barrie

The UK Vineyards Association runs the competition and this year has, after consulting members, upped the profile of the event and made it more consumer-focused.

Results will be announced on 31st May and awards will be presented at a prestigeous event in the summer, venue and date yet to be announced.




The New Look UK Wine Awards are Coming




The UK Vineyards Association new competition is to be more consumer focused and high-profile. It is now open for entries and the closing date, 10th April, is approaching. We hope SW vineyards will take this not-to-be-missed opportunity to show off the excellent wines of the south west to a wide public.

 “The line up of Judges is fantastic with Susie Barrie and Oz Clarke as Co-Chairs, high profile sponsors with top quality press coverage of the competition” said Belinda Mercer, competition manager and secretary ofour sister organisation, the SEVA.

 “What an honour to be heading up the new-look UK Wine Awards”, said Susie Barrie, MW, “This is such an exciting time for UK wine and the category really deserves a top-notch competition like this, judged to international standards by an expert panel. The results will give fantastic exposure to the country’s top wines and act as a guide for consumers to the very best of what this great nation has to offer”. Susie Barrie MW is known to many as a star of the BBC’s “Saturday Kitchen”.

Sponsors include  Country Life, Hotel du Vin and Waitrose.

 The competition is open to any English or Welsh wine, made to PDO/PGI standards but the entry fee is lower for UKVA members,   £55 + VAT for UKVA members, £150 + VAT for non-members. 

 Medal categories are 

ST I L L  


Single Varietal White

Blended White

Red Pinot Noir





Classic Cuvée

Non-Classic Blend

Blanc de Blancs

Blanc de Noirs


Sparkling Red

Prestige Cuvée

Watch out for news about  non-wine category awards, coming soon.

The awards will be announced in time for the beginning of English Wine Week to maximise on publicity and for integration into vineyards’ marketing programmes.

Main trophies and non-product awards will be announced at the UK WINE AWARDS Celebration Lunch in July.

Click here >> for details and entry forms.

More detail from Belinda Mercer, Competition Manager

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Impressive Medal Haul for SW Vineyards in UK National Wine Competition

Impressive Medal Haul for SW Vineyards in UK National Wine Competition


Furleigh_Bacchus_Fume  Langham_Cuvee_Reserve Camel_Valley_Bacchus_DryFennyCastleOrtega  ParvaFarmDathliad

SW trophy winners

UKVA English and Welsh Wine of the Year Competition 2016.

Wine producers in the South West of England have been celebrating the results of the UK Vineyards Association's "English and Welsh Wine of the Year" competition.
SWVA member vineyards took half of the 14 trophies in the UK’s national wine championships, the “English and Welsh Wine of the Year” competition, whose results were announced on 27th June. They also took 12 of the 32 Gold Medals, in a competition where still wines played a large part, with 2014 Bacchus wines showing especially well. The wines were judged at Llanerch Vineyard, near Cardiff on 22nd to 24th June by David Bird MW (Chair),Robin Crameri MW, Rebecca Hull MW, Angela Muir MW and Patricia Stefanowicz MW.
Two trophies remain to be announced, those for the English Wine of the Year, and Winemaker of the Year. They will be announced at the awards lunch at Vintners Hall, in the City of London, on July 12th.

Trophies for Furleigh, Langham, Camel Valley, Fenny Castle and Parva Farm

Dorset’s Furleigh and Langham Estates took two trophies apiece.

Furleigh's Bacchus Fumé 2014 won the McNie Trophy for the best oaked wine and the Wine Guild Trophy for the best large production wine (not of the previous year).

Langham’s Classic Cuvée Reserve 2011  won the President's Trophy for the most outstanding small production wine (not 2015) , and the Vintners Trophy for the best sparkling wine.

Camel Valley’s Bacchus Dry 2015 won the Dudley Quirk Trophy for the best 2015 large production wine.

Fenny Castle's Barrel Fermented Ortega 2015 won the Montague Trophy for the best presented wine.

Parva Farm's Dathliad 2013 won the Welsh Wine of the Year Trophy. 

Twelve Gold Medals for the South West

There were Golds for Aldwick Court Farm (Mary’s Rose 2015), Camel Valley (Annie’s Anniversary 2013, Bacchus Dry 2015), Castle Brook (Classic Cuvée 2010), Furleigh (Bacchus Dry 2014, Bacchus Fumé 2014), Langham (Classic Cuvée Reserve 2011), Lily Farm (Bacchus 2015), Lyme Bay (Sandbar 2015), Polgoon (Bacchus 2014), Sharpham (Bacchus 2014), Three Choirs (Cellar Door Bacchus 2014).

Silver Medals

Silver Medals were thick on the ground too, with 46 to south west wine producers out of 121 awarded. They went to  Aldwick Court Farm, Camel Valley (5), Eastcott, Furleigh (3), Knightor (3), Langham (2), Lily Farm, Lovells, Lyme Bay (3), Oatley (3), Parva Farm (2), Sharpham (7), Sherborne Castle (2), Sixteen Ridges (3), Smith & Evans, Sutton Ridge (2), Three Choirs (3), Trevibban Mill (3).

Bronze Medals

South West vineyards took 30 of the 105 Bronze medals. They went to Aldwick Court Farm, Brick House Vineyard, Camel Valley (4), Eastcott, Furleigh, Lily Farm, Lovells (2), Lyme Bay (2), Parva Farm (2), Polgoon (2), Poulton Hill, Sharpham (3), Sixteen Ridges (2), Sutton Ridge, Three Choirs (2), Trevibban Mill (3), White Castle.

Full results >>

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