The extraordinary talent in today’s UK wine industry and the stars of its future were celebrated at Vintners’ Hall last night as the winners in WineGB’s Rising Star Awards together with the 2024 Vintners’ UK Wine Apprentice were announced.

In this inaugural year of the WineGB Rising Stars Awards, individuals aged 30 and under working in the different sectors of the UK wine industry were applauded for their commitment, hard work and contribution to its ongoing success.

A winner from each category was chosen by a panel of industry experts from nominations submitted by peers and employers from across the industry and wider wine trade. In some categories, the judges also awarded special merit to other of the nominees, to acknowledge their contribution to the industry.

The categories covered viticulture, winemaking, business/marketing and tourism. Sustainability was also highlighted, with additional awards given to individuals in the viticulture and winemaking categories that had shown particular commitment to sustainable practices.

The winners were presented an award by a member of the judging panel and are as follows:

Oscar Willis – Sales, Marketing & Communications Manager, Yotes Court Vineyard

Phoebe French – Membership Engagement Manager, Wines of Great Britain

Sophie Mounsey – Marketing and Tourism Manager, Velfrey Vineyard

Ben Brown – Agronomist & Viticulture Specialist, Agrii

Tom Follows – Cellar Hand, Chapel Down

Jean Langedyk – Assistant Winemaker, Bolney Wine Estate
Den’e Van Wyk – Assistant Winemaker, Simpsons Wine Estate

Rob Poyser – Viticulturist, Vinescapes

Jack Mankin – Winemaker, Ridgeview

The evening also saw the announcement of The Vintners’ UK Wine Apprentice Award, given by The Vintners’ Company to support an aspiring individual working in a UK winery. The award provides funding to study wine production at Plumpton College in Sussex over a two-year period, plus the opportunity to study for a WSET qualification at an appropriate level. The winner is Louisa Adams of Breaky Bottom Vineyard. The Award was presented by the Chair of The Vintners’ Trade Liaison Committee, Ian Harris MBE and Sam Linter, Wine Director of Plumpton.

Nicola Bates, CEO of WineGB commented: “We are so proud to see such a rich pool of young talent across our industry and making such a significant contribution. These awards allow us to publicly acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our deserved winners and fantastic nominees – they are our leaders of the future. We also want to continue to inspire many others to discover the wide range of career opportunities in this exciting industry.

“I’d like to thank the Vintners’ Company for their great support by giving us this special event at Vintners’ Hall and of course for the generous UK Wine Apprentice Award which will set this year’s talented winner, Louisa, on her way to an exciting career in the UK wine industry.”

Ian Harris MBE said: “The Vintners’ Company is very proud to support the UK wine industry and its ongoing growth. It’s fantastic to celebrate its future stars. Our hearty congratulations to Louisa in winning The Vintners’ UK Wine Apprentice Award and we wish her well with her studies at Plumpton College. We look forward to following her career!”

Further information on each of the winners and merits is available here

Downloadable images of the winners are available from the photo gallery