WineGB Wessex has announced the winners of its annual 2022. This is the 38th year of the awards for what is the third largest of WineGB’s regional bodies. Over 50 wineries from across Dorset, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Wiltshire submitted wines for the competition; a number of these were from wineries entering for the first time, reflecting the increasing quality and overall growth of the region.

WineGB Wessex has joined forces with The Pig Hotels, who have come on board as award sponsors for the first time. The Pig in Brockenhurst hosted the judging, which took place on 8th November; and a new award has been created for 2022: “The Pig” Wessex Wine of the Year Trophy, which has been created to celebrate the best overall wine. This was presented to Zam Baring of Grange Estate for its 2016 Classic Magnum Sparkling Brut by WineGB Wessex Chair, Jacob Leadley. The 2022 WineGB Wessex Trophy Winners are:

The Pig Wessex Wine of the Year Trophy ~ Grange Estate Classic Magnum Sparkling Brut 2016
The Best in Wessex Sparkling Brut Trophy ~ Grange Estate Classic Magnum Sparkling Brut 2016
The Best in Wessex Sparkling Rosé Trophy ~ Langham Wine Estate Rosé NV
The Best in Wessex Still Wine Trophy ~ The Wharie Experience Pinot Rosé 2021

For vineyards of 2ha or less, there are two specific awards:

The John Youles Trophy (Still) ~ Priors Dean Golden Harvest 2020
The Roger Marchbank Trophy (Sparkling) ~ Domaine Hugo, Hugo Sparkling Brut 2019

The judges for the 2022 Awards were: Nik Darlington (Chair), Graft Wine Company; Phoebe French, WineGB; Luke Harbor, The Pig Hotels; Hannah Milnes, The British Bouchon; Beth Willard, Wine Traders; and Luke Wolfe, Whitewolfe Estate & Agro-Pro.

Commenting on the awards, The Pig’s Robin Hutson said: “I have been an English fizz evangelist for many years – in fact for nearly a decade we have been actively reducing sales of champagne by the glass at THE PIGs, in favour of English sparkling wine, and over the past few years I have also been really inspired by the leaps and bounds made with English still wines.  I have been blown away by what has been achieved by the many talented and dedicated wine makers here in the UK, so much so we have made the conscious decision to dedicate a sizeable chunk of our wine lists to our native product, searching out the very best offerings we can get our hands on. We are really pleased to be supporting the efforts of the WineGB Wessex Awards, celebrating the innovation and creativity of wine makers right on the doorstep of our Hampshire and Dorset based PIGs. It is a privilege to be involved in this emerging and important industry and we just want to share it with as many people as we can, and we know that awards like this really help raise the profile of these English wine makers on a local and national level.”

WineGB Wessex Chair, and founder of Black Chalk Wine, Jacob Leadley, commented: “Wessex is one of the most exciting and diverse of the UK’s wine regions; its potential to produce top quality English wines was clear to see at yesterday’s judging and at today’s highlight tasting.  We were delighted to partner with The Pig Hotels – which has three establishments in Wessex – for the first time and, as one of the leading endorsers of local food and drink producers, we are grateful for their support of Wessex Wines.”

WineGB Wessex competition judges in action

The regional wine body, which encompasses Dorset, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Wiltshire, currently has over 70 members. The third largest of WineGB’s regional bodies, Wessex is the most diverse in terms of vineyard size, with production ranging from hundreds of bottles to half a million bottles. WineGB Wessex supports its members on all aspects of the wine industry, including viticulture, winemaking, funding, education, tourism and marketing, and represents its members at the national level within WineGB.