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M&S teams up with top Plumpton student to make pink English fizz

Published:  10 October, 2014

Marks & Spencer is to produce a new style of pink sparkling wine along with England's Plumpton College's top final year wine production student Karen Telford.

The retailer is sponsoring the college's top student for the second year running. Last year's winner Collette O'Leary developed a red wine which was launched in M&S during English Wine Week.

The bespoke wine will be made from grapes grown in Plumpton's own 25-acre vineyard. Telford will work with M&S winemaker Sue Daniels to make the wine, which is scheduled for a 2015 launch.

M&S PlumptonM&S to make pink English fizz with Plumpton studentM&S has offered a scholarship to the top Plumpton College final year student to make their own wine in conjunction with the retailer’s winemaker Sue Daniels.

Telford originally studied Chemistry at the University of Central Lancashire and worked in technical and commercial roles in the food industry for over 20 years. She began the BSc (Hons) Viticulture & Oenology at Plumpton on a part-time basis in 2010, while taking a career break to raise her family.

Telford said: "I am really excited to be involved in creating an English wine for M&S. This opportunity to experience the reality of commercial winemaking, together with my studies at Plumpton, will really help me develop my second career in English wine."

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The 2014 English harvest, currently being picked, has been dubbed a "dream vintage" by winemakers, thanks to good weather throughout the season - and especially the warm and dry month of September.  Many winemakers began picking earlier than usual, and yields are greater than normal too.

Mardi Roberts, sales and marketing manager of Ridgeview in Ditchling, Sussex, said: "2014 was a year of wonderful weather at all the right times for our vines."

She said the yield was "very respectable" adding that sugar levels and acidity were "perfect for sparkling wine production". She singled out Pinot Noir as having performed "exceptionally well".

"The base wines are tasting fantastic and we truly believe 2014 will be a vintage to remember."