SWVA set to repeat trade tastings in 2016

Committee meets at Manstree Vineyard to plan 2016 programme

The SWVA Committee met at the Boyce's at Manstree, Shillingford St George near Exeter on 2nd December to plan the programme of events for next year, and to hear the Chairman, Ian Edwards (Furleigh, Dorset), report back from the council meeting of our parent organisation, the UK Vineyards Association at which its future organisation had been discussed.

2016 Events

The AGM and Spring Meeting for SWVA members will be at the beginning of March, probably 8th, in the north of the region. The Competition will be in September again, probably in Cornwall, but the Committee propose an AGM discussion about maybe moving it back to the winter, the following year, to avoid the busy pre-harvest and back-to-school period. The growth of the competition has meant we need to explore expanding the panel of judges for 2016.

Discussions about a summer meeting or event are ongoing.

Local Trade Tastings to be taken forward for 2016

Perhaps the key decision was to endorse the local Trade Tastings as a feature to be taken forward. They were held as an experiment in Bristol and Exeter in 2015, and judged a success by participating vineyards and the invited attendees from the trade. Guy Smith will be leading on the 2016 Bristol trade tasting and Faye Pratt on Exeter. 

Social Media

Our @SWVineyardsUK twitter feed is now up to 600 followers including many wine journalists, bloggers and people from the wine trade. The "Buy SW Wines Online webpage" seems to be generating quite a few referrals. However the site software is creaking and really needs updating, and Simon Day no longer has the time available. The Committee will explore possible ways forward.

Cathie Rolinson agreed to take on the development of a community Facebook page for SW vinegrowers.

UK Vineyards Association Organisational Change

SWVA Chair Ian Edwards reported on the changes proposed for the UKVA organisation. Sam Lindo, Chair of the UKVA wrote to members on the same day explaining the proposals. They are to strengthen the UKVA's governance before progressing any merger with English Wine Producers, the marketing organisation for larger producers, which had been an aim at the start of the project. The UKVA is to recruit a CEO, in addition to its secretary, and create an elected management committee meeting 6 times a year and a marketing task force to manage UKVA marketing activities more actively. The proposals will be put to the UKVA AGM on 11th February.

Committee Changes

There have been some changes to the SWVA Committee. Sam Lindo (Camel Valley, Cornwall) and Judith Dudley (Parva Farm, Mon) have decided to stand down, Sam in view of his commitments as Chair of the UKVA. The Committee thanked them for their contribution. Robert Cowley (Cowley Estate, Glos) has joined the Committee as Editor of the Association's biannual magazine, The Vine Post. Previous editor Alison Routh (Wellhayes Vineyard, Devon) remains on the committee. Cathie Rolinson (Lovells Vineyard, Worcs), has taken over from her husband John.

A tour of Boyces at Manstree

After lunch kindly provided by Mrs Boyce committee members enjoyed a tour of the vineyard led by Simon and Tim Boyce, including seeing the oldest commercial vines in Devon, 36-year-old Madeleine Angevine and Seyval Blanc, originally planted by Gerry Symons, founder of Manstree Vineyard and for many years a former Chair of the SWVA. The Boyces have made significant new plantings of grapes that are now sold to other estates, and they buy in wine from these estates to sell in their shop. They also grow 8 acres of soft, some top fruit and flowering plants.


boyces1    boyces2


Rendezvous at Exeter: Another SWVA Trade Tasting Success

Exciting times in Exeter….

Exeter Trade Tasting 2015 general view

On 22nd June the other end of the SWVA region, the south west, took its turn to run an inaugural Trade Tasting of English Wines, this time in Exeter. Jemma Mitchell, owner of the Rendezvous Wine Bar and her sister Rebecca Mitchell, both passionate promoters of local wines, provided the venue and supported the event.

Eleven vineyards presented their wines, from Devon, Cornwall and Dorset. They were, from Devon: Eastcott, Lily Farm, Lyme Bay, Pebblebed, Redyeates, Sharpham, Sidbury and Torview; from Cornwall: Polgoon and Trevibban Mill and from Dorset: Furleigh.

Nearly sixty people came to try the wines, mostly from Devon but also a few from further afield. The event was organised by Faye Pratt (Lily Farm) and Hilary Waller (Eastcott). It follows on from the north of the region's first event, held recently in Bristol. Following a similar model, Faye and Hilary encouraged all of the producers to share information about their trade contacts so that invitations came centrally on behalf of the SWVA. All the vineyards, the venue and the SWVA, helped with publicity.

Rebecca Hansford of Furleigh Estate, who attended both events, said, "Exeter had a great buzz about it from the start, with good quality attendees coming from the right sort of places." Established winemakers included Duncan Schwab of Sharpham who voted it an event well worth coming to. For many it was the first time that they’d ever done anything like this and an exciting new experience.

The venue was busy right from the start at 2pm. It was scheduled to run until 5pm but Hilary reported, "We were still showing the last people out at 6pm. There was a lot of interest in all the wines and our timing seemed to be spot on for this, our first Trade Tasting. Joining forces to show our wines is an efficient way of reaching a wider audience and makes it much easier for people in the Trade to find us."

Susy Atkins, wine writer and BBC Saturday Kitchen presenter, tweeted, "Excellent @SWVineyardsUK tasting at @RendezvousWBar - discovered some new South-west gems. Thank you!"

The event in pictures:

Exeter Trade Tasting 1 Exeter Trade Tasting 2 Exeter Trade Tasting 3 Exeter Trade Tasting Richard Waller IMG_4292 Exeter Trade Tasting Faye and Alan Pratt Exeter Trade Tasting Ken Bennett Exeter Trade Tasting Sidbury Exeter Trade Tasting - Lyme Bay Exeter Trade Tasting general 2


IWC 2016 Tranche 1 Results: Congratulations to Wraxall!

Silver for Somerset's Wraxall Vineyard in Tranche 1 of the International Wine Challenge 2016


IWC-2014-StickersCongratulations to Wraxall Vineyard for the best results in the South West in Tranche 1 of  the International Wine Challenge 2016. Wraxall were awarded a coveted Silver Medal for their Somerset Sparkling Rosé 2013, which also won a Bronze in Verona's prestigious Bollicine del Mondo where Hambledon Vineyard was the only other English award-winner.

Wraxall's Jacky Brayton and Brian Shirley said, "We are very pleased to be part of the Southwest success story."

English entries to Tranche 1 small in number but high in quality

For English wines the first tranche of this major worldwide competition has historically attracted fewer entries than Tranche 2, whose 2016 results will be announced next May. This year's Tranche 1 saw an unusually high standard for English entries though, with a Gold to Hart of Gold, a Sussex producer for their 2010 sparkling, an uusually high proportion of 12 Silvers, 8 Bronzes and 7 Commended, mainly awarded to producers from the South East.

Bronze medals for Dunleavy, Eastcott and Yearlstone

Other South West awards were:

Bronzes for Ashbury Brut 2013 from Devon's Eastcott Vineyard, for North Somerset's Dunleavy Pinot Noir Rosé 2014 and Devon's Yearlstone Number 5 2014.

Commended for Eastcott, Redyeates and Lily Farm

Commendeds were awarded to three Devon vineyards: Eastcott for Furzehill 2014, Redyeates for Seyvor 2014 and Lily Farm for their Rosé 2014.

Well done to all award winners but especially those carrying the flag for the South West..





SWVA Trade Tasting in Exeter 22nd June

After the success of our Bristol Trade Tasting in the north east of the SWVA region, our next event is in the south west of the region on Monday 22nd June.

Again the event is a collaboration between the venue, this time the Rendezvous Wine Bar in Exeter, and the producers showing their wines. 

Eight producers from Cornwall, Devon and Dorset will be there. A chance to discuss and taste some of the the finest English wines available in the south west. The producers attending are, from Devon:  Eastcott, Lily Farm, Redyeates, Sharpham and Torview. From Cornwall: Polgoon and  newly-opened organic vineyard, Trevibban Mill. From Dorset: Furleigh Estate.

Hilary Waller from Eastcott Vineyard near Okehampton, who is helping to organise the event said, "Initial response to news of the event has been very good. We're delighted that well known wine writer and broadcaster Susy Atkins has already expressed an interest in attending."

Details below



Furleigh Estate Wines SWVA Wine of the Year 2015

Dorset’s Furleigh Estate Awarded SWVA Wine of the Year 2015

Winning Wine of the Year  and Best Sparkling is Furleigh Estate Classic Cuvée 2011

Results of the South West Vineyards Association’s annual competition were announced on 8th September at a members’ lunch and award ceremony at Aldwick Court Farm and Vineyard, Redhill, North Somerset.

Judging of the 141 wines entered for the competition had taken place at the same venue the day before, by a team of five judges, all with advanced qualifications from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, led by London-based Patricia Stefanowicz, Master of Wine. Organization of the competition was by members of the SWVA Committee under the leadership of Competition Secretary Alina Stankus.

After an excellent awards lunch, Patricia Stefanowicz  reviewed the wines, noting  the overall improvement over recent years, especially in red wines, and commending particularly the sparkling wine, rosé  and oaked white classes and also the off-dry classes, where wines from non-commercial producers had done particularly well.

Furleigh wine Wine of Year 2015

SWVA Chair Ian Edwards had the job of reading out the awards and trophies, to find that three of the trophies, for the best rosé, the best sparkling wine and the overall Wine of the Year were awarded to his own vineyard, Furleigh Estate. The Best Rosé was Furleigh Sea Pink 2014.

Ian enlisted the help of SWVA Treasurer Simon Boyce to present the trophies to his wife Rebecca Hansford, who received them on behalf of Furleigh (Pictured right with the South West Wine of the Year Trophy)

Other trophies

Three of the other trophies went to Devon producers: to Sharpham (Totnes) for the best dry white, to Pebblebed (Exmouth) for the best Sparkling rosé and to Lyme Bay Winery (Axminster) for the best oaked still white. Worcestershire’s Astley Vineyard took the trophy for the best commercial non-dry wine and Beeches Vineyard, Heredfordshire, for the best red.

Non-commercial wines

The trophy for the best non-commercial winemaker went to Peter Austerfield of Westhope Hill Vineyard in Herefordshire. Peter took the  shield for the best non-commercial dry white wine for his Madeleine Angevine 2014, and shared the shield for the best non-commercial non-dry wine. It was awarded jointly for Peter's Estate Medium Dry 2013, and to Darryl Gill from Claylands Vineyard for his “sierra eight one” 2014, both wines gaining silver medals and winning the two non-dry classes. Tony Griffin of North Somerset’s Northend Vineyard won trophies for best non-commercial red wine and best non-commercial sparkling wine.

Contribution to the SWVA Journal

The Gillian Pearkes Memorial bowl for the best contribution to the SWVA’s journal “The Vine Post” was awarded to Liz Mumcuoglu of Cornwall’s Trevibban Mill vineyard for her survey of under-vine weed management practices.

Full results are available on the Competition tab of the SWVA’s Home Page, link here>>

The event in pictures:

Judging, left to right, Tim Johnson, Mark Butler, Claire Roberts, Patricia Stefanowicz, Rebecca Mitchell, judging (x2), close up of judge Rebecca Mitchell, trophies ready, members gather, bottles uncovered set out in classes ready for tasting, members tasting the sparklings and reds, numbered bottlenecks, lunch, Patricia Stefanowicz MW reviewing the wines, SWVA Chair Ian Edwards announcing the full list of medals, Duncan Schwab receiving the Best Dry White trophy for Sharpham, Tony Griffin receiving the  trophy for the Best Non-Commercial sparkling wine, Engin Mumcuoglu receiving the Gillian Pearkes Memorial bowl on behalf of Liz Mumcuoglu.






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