UK WINE INDUSTRY CROWNS THE WINNERS OF THE INAUGURAL UK WINE AWARDS
Major sponsors, Country Life, Hotel du Vin and Waitrose gathered with English and Welsh wine producers, judges, journalists and key members and supporters of the UK wine industry to celebrate and to congratulate the medal and trophy-winners.
Following the unveiling of the award winners during English Wine Week in May, with Hampshire’s Coates & Seely’s ‘La Perfide’ Blanc de Blancs 2009 being crowned Supreme Champion Wine (full list below), one final trophy was revealed at the Awards luncheon on Wednesday – that of Winery of the Year, which was awarded to Bolney Wine Estate from Sussex.
Susie Barrie MW and Oz Clarke, co-chairs of the stellar judging panel thanked the sponsors, praised the producers and explained what they had set out to achieve and their ambitions for the new national competition for the UK wine industry.
“We were really very excited about this new competition because it just felt right”, commented Susie. “The fact that you, as an industry, wanted a new, contemporary competition just shows how ambitious and confident you are right now, and rightly so. You are making world-class wines and they really deserve the exposure and recognition that a competition like this can give them.”
NB: Please see below a link to a selection of official pictures of the UK Wine Awards ceremony and luncheon. Please credit Tom Gold, www.tomgoldphotography.com if you use any of these pictures.
Full list of trophy winners:
- Supreme Champion, Coates & Seely‘La Perfide’ Blanc De Blancs 2009
- Winery of the Year, Bolney Wine Estate
- Best Overall Still Wine, Bolney Wine Estate Foxhole Vineyard Pinot Gris 2016
- Best Overall Sparkling Wine, Coates & Seely ‘La Perfide’ Blanc De Blancs 2009
- Best Still Bacchus, Lyme BayBacchus Block 2015
- Best Single Varietal Still White, Bolney Wine Estate Foxhole Vineyard Pinot Gris 2016
- Best Sparkling Blanc de Blancs, Coates & Seely ‘La Perfide’ Blanc de Blancs 2009
- Best Sparkling Rosé, Coates & Seely Rosé 2009
- Best Classic Cuvée sparkling wine, Digby Fine EnglishBrut 2010
About the UK Wine Awards
The UK Wine Awards is the national competition for wine produced from grapes grown in England and Wales, inspired by the growing popularity of English and Welsh wines. Designed to showcase the distinctive styles of sparkling and still wines produced in the UK, the Awards are run by the United Kingdom wine industry in association with Hotel du Vin, Country Life and Waitrose.
The wines were judged to an international standard by twelve top wine experts that regularly judge the biggest international competitions. Chaired by Susie Barrie MW and Oz Clarke the line-up comprised David Bird MW, Richard Hemming MW, Alex Hunt MW and Phil Tuck MW, as well as Christine Parkinson from Hakkasan, Rebecca Hull MW from Waitrose and Hamish Anderson from Tate restaurants. They were joined by writer and broadcaster Jane Parkinson, M&S wine buyer Elizabeth Kelly and Corney & Barrow buyer Rebecca Palmer.
- 293 wines were entered
- 62% of these won medals, in keeping with the proportion of well-established international competitions
- Eight wine trophies were awarded
- 20 Gold, 36 Silver and 127 Bronze medals were awarded
What the Awards can tell us about English and Welsh wines:
- English Sparkling Wines are particularly successful. Though only 42% of the wines entered were sparkling, 75% of gold medal winners were sparkling wines, as were 67% of the silvers
- Chardonnay is the dominant grape variety in terms of wins, gaining six of the 20 golds and 50 medals overall for still and sparkling wine
- Pinot Noir also proved a successful variety in England and Wales, winning 42 medals overall
- The most popular still variety remains Bacchus, England’s third most planted variety (after Chardonnay and Pinot Noir), gaining just under a third of the total medals won by still wines
- Pinot Gris is an emerging variety in England, winning golds for a still and a sparkling
- Medal winners were a mix of established and new producers, showing that even from the first vintage wine, some excellent wines are being produced in the UK
- The same can be said for the number of established producers that are proving time and again that the quality of their wines is consistent
- A wine that has seen more ageing has proven to be the overall winner – this shows the ageing potential in English sparkling wine
Please see below additional comments made by the co-chairs to the assembled guests on the day:
Oz Clarke on the purpose of the competition
“The competition exists to offer you encouragement, advice and to fire your self-belief. None of you would be in this room if you didn’t believe that in England and Wales we can do great things and we’re on the verge of doing even greater things and this competition is to help you convert those dreams into reality.”
Susie Barrie MW on the line-up of judges
“My job was to choose to the judges and I was determined it was going to be an ‘awesome’ team and it really was. We had representatives from pretty much every sector of the industry and the collective knowledge and experience that we were surrounded by in the room was quite humbling, so I would like to offer a heartfelt thanks to all our judges.”
Oz Clarke on competition standards
“One of the most important points about this new competition is to make sure it’s taken seriously, right from the start. There are no easy medals in this competition. There’s no point in giving easy medals. Every medal is an award. It’s thought through by the judges, it’s discussed, it’s evaluated against the standards that we expect – every single medal.”
Susie Barrie MW on the wines
“When it came to the sparkling wines, we really found that those with some extra lees-ageing or bottle-ageing or both were the ones that stood out. We know that market forces can make that tricky to achieve but it is worth noting that they were the wines that really wowed us. Perhaps most exciting though was the potential of the still wines, particularly the Pinot Noirs, the Chardonnays and the white Pinots and I think we’re going to see those categories of wines winning several gold medals over the next couple of years.”
Oz Clarke on the sponsors
“It’s such a delight to have you guys sponsoring us. If ever you wanted to go to a publication which told you the absolute beating heart of our beautiful country, Country Life issue by issue by issue keeps us proud and emotionally involved with our wonderful country. What a fantastic media partner to have with you so thank you very much indeed.”
Hotel du Vin Group
“You’re an absolutely smashing group of people to work with and this is an inspired place for us to have our awards.”
“Waitrose have made an astonishing commitment to English wine. Without a kind of partner like you in the high street, things would have been so much more difficult. What’s wonderful is that they have all the larger producers in all their stores but in every single store there’s an excellent chance that you will go in and the best local producer will be there gazing at you at eye level saying, “I’m your local wine – buy me.”