Sussex vineyard crowned UK’s best at the ‘Oscars’ of the drinks world
A family-run vineyard in Sussex has been awarded ‘UK Wine Producer of the Year’ by the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC).
It’s the first time Bolney Wine Estate has won the prestigious title and comes after the estate’s sparkling Blanc De Blanc 2007 beat some of the biggest names in wine to scoop a ‘Gold Outstanding’ award in this year’s competition.
The presentations were made at the IWSC’s glittering annual banquet at London’s historic Guildhall last night <November 14> attended by more than 450 wine and spirit aficionados from around the world.
Winemaker Samantha Linter said: “We are thrilled to have won such a significant award. This is a tremendous achievement for the team at our boutique vineyard. We are very proud of our handmade wines and it brings us great pleasure to know that the judges have recognised us as a premium producer. We are honoured to stand among the best in the UK industry and will strive to build on this success. Bolney Wine Estate has a bright future and we would like to thank all of our wonderful fans for their continued support.”
Situated in the village of Bolney, near Hayward’s Heath, the vineyard was founded by Janet and Rodney Pratt in 1972. From an original three acres, the vineyard has grown to 39 acres.
Janet’s daughter, Samantha, who taught hairdressing before studying viniculture, now heads an all-female team including assistant winemaker Liz Garrett, vineyard manager Sue Osgood and Samantha’s daughter Charlotte.
Samantha continued: “Bolney’s south-facing vineyards and free-draining sandstone soil, which retains the heat, makes it ideal for grape growing.”
Anna Grant, IWSC’s Head of Sales and Marketing, said: “Bolney is a worthy winner of this accolade. It’s a great achievement from a family-run vineyard.”
Bolney Wine Estate beat a short list including Nyetimber, in West Sussex, English Wines Plc, Chapel Down and Gusbourne Estate in Kent.
At the same event, Australian winemaker McGuigan scooped the title ‘Winemaker of the Year’ – (for the third time in four years). Scottish distiller Glemorangie was awarded ‘Distiller of the Year’ and, for the second consecutive year in a row, Waitrose was crowned ‘Retailer of the Year’ – the supermarket has won the title three times in all.