West Sussex’s Digby Fine English secured their place in the Hall of Fame this year, scooping up four trophies, including Best Classic Cuvée Vintage, Top Sparkling, and the regional trophy for the South East with their 2013 Vintage Reserve Brut. This performance led them to be crowned Supreme Champion.
It was another successful year for Sugrue South Downs as they were awarded trophies for Best Classic Cuvée NV/MV for Cuvée Dr Brendan O’Regan MV and Best Blanc de Blancs for their Cuvée Boz Coldharbour Single Vineyard 2015, as well as being named Best Boutique Producer.
Ridgeview’s Blanc de Noirs 2015 was named Best Blanc de Noirs, and Bluebell Vineyard Estates’ Hindleap Rosé 2016 was awarded the trophy for Best Sparkling Rosé.
Key wins were also gained by Essex’s Tuffon Hall Vineyard, winning Best Still Rosé and the regional trophy for the East with their Pinot Noir Rosé, Beatrice 2022 and Devon-based Sandridge Barton, picking up the trophy for Best Still Pinot Noir and regional trophy for the West with their Pinot Noir 2020, which was also the joint winner of Top Still Wine.
There were triumphs for Kent as Gusbourne was awarded the Trophy for Best Chardonnay and named as the Joint Top Still Wine for their Chardonnay Guinevere 2021. Gusbourne was also awarded the trophy for Estate Winery of the Year. Fellow Kent producer Chapel Down lifted the trophy for Best Still Bacchus for their Kit’s Coty Bacchus 2020 and Best Prestige Cuvée for their Kit’s Coty Coeur de Cuvée 2016.
Sussex’s Wiston Estate won the Contract Winery Trophy, Hampshire’s Candover Brook was named Best Newcomer and was also the recipient of the regional trophy for Wessex, while Berkshire’s All Angels won the regional trophy for the Thames & Chilterns, Staffordshire’s Halfpenny Green secured the same accolade for the Midlands & North with its Chardonnay 2020, and Monmouthshire’s White Castle Vineyard picked up the regional trophy for Wales with its Pinot Noir Reserve 2021.
Two new trophies were introduced this year: the Pioneers’ Trophy, whose first recipient was Ridgeview Sparkling Red Reserve NV, and the Chris Foss Sustainable Wine Trophy, awarded to the highest-scoring Sustainable Wines of Great Britain-certified wine in this competition – this year’s winner was Gusbourne Chardonnay Guinevere 2021, adding to the wine’s list of accolades.
Co-chair of the judging panel, Susie Barrie MW, commented: “What’s perhaps most satisfying about chairing this competition each year, beyond the sheer joy of being able to taste and compare so many of the UK’s finest wines, is seeing new names appear on the list of medals. For a competition like this to have value, it needs to attract the best of the best, whether new or established, large, medium or small. We want to taste the wines of producers who push the boundaries and are uncompromising in their quest for quality, and we have yet to be disappointed. A huge thank you to everyone who enters the WineGB Awards, I feel so lucky and privileged to judge this competition.”
Fellow co-chair, Oz Clarke OBE, added: “We judges get such a thrill when we realise we’ve given medals to wineries we didn’t know, and it’s really rewarding to think we’re setting them on the path to greater things. We have a wine nation that has barely begun to exploit its potential. Every year we have more growers and winemakers brimming over with imagination and ambition. Every year new areas of Britain stand up proud and say – we can do it too. We have the chance in the next generation to become one of the world’s greatest cool climate wine nations. And this year’s Awards competition shows that we’re going about it in the right way.”
A big thank you must go to the WineGB Awards headline sponsor, Rankin, to co-sponsor of the WineGB Awards Lunch, Bevica, and to all the trophy sponsors for supporting this event.
Photos: ©Tom Gold Photography