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Ridgeview heralds non-vintage move as it appoints youngest winemaker

Published:  11 November, 2017

Ridgeview Wine Estate has appointed its youngest winemaker to date, Rory Loftus aged 23, as assistant head winemaker amid a key transitional change of its vintage wines to non-vintage.

Sussex-based Ridgeview winery, which released its first non-vintage Bloomsbury this year, has revealed its Cavendish wines will be released as non-vintage from 2018 for the first time.

With soaring demand, Ridgeview has in recent years been under pressure to release vintages each year, but an increase in production to an average of 250,000 bottles a year - up from 20,000 bottles in 1996 - has allowed it to make use of reserves from older vintages and to reduce dosage levels.

Rather than a shift in style, Ridgeview said the move was more about “adding further quality and consistency” to its signature wines.

“Our winemaking team has been careful not to lose the essence of the style and blend of each of these wines - the move is about adding consistency,” Mardi Roberts, marketing & communications director, told Harpers.

“We are maintaining the fruit-driven, balanced style of the wines,” she added.

“The next and future releases of our signature wines, including Bloomsbury, Cavendish and Fitzrovia, will be non-vintage rather than vintage, Roberts said.

As well as the use of older vintages to improve quality and consistency, Roberts said the move to non-vintage would allow for a smoother transition between wine releases.

“Our vintage wines will be more expensive, prestigious wines from limited parcels of land and aged longer on the lees for three years,” said Roberts.

Ridgeview has recently made a number of appointments in order to assist with the construction of a new winery in 2018 that will allow the wine estate to produce 400,000 bottles a year by 2020.

The appointment of Loftus, a former chef for Michelin star restaurant owner Nathan Outlaw and one of the youngest rising stars of the bourgeoning English wine industry, follows the appointment of Miguel Symington as associate winemaker two years ago.

The recent appointments were supported by a growing sales and marketing team created to assist Ridgeview’s growth ambitions, “not to be the biggest English sparkling producer, but to be the best in all it does and to cement its place as an industry leader”, said Roberts