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Bolney scoops top prize at inaugural UK Wine Awards

Published:  20 July, 2017

The first UK Wine Awards set a new tone for the English and Welsh wine industry at Wimbledon’s Hotel du Vin yesterday.

The revamped and re-launched awards for UK-produced wine was spearheaded by English Wine Producers’ Julia Trustram Eve, and various members of the EWP and the UK Vineyards Association, which are in the process of merging under one banner.

Efforts have been made to update the format from previous years to make it more outward-facing and media-friendly to resonate with consumers.

Co-chairs Susie Barrie MW and Oz Clarke also worked to bring the competition in line with international standards.

Judges scored some 300 wines against criteria used by most international wine competitions, with 83 points required for bronze, 89 for silver and 95 for gold.

Among the big winners were Coates & Seely, whose small quantities of La Perfide 2009 was crowned the most outstanding sparkling Blanc de Blancs, most outstanding sparkling 2017 as well as the supreme champion of the awards.

English wine negociants, Digby Fine English, also walked away with a hat trick of golds.

But the biggest prize of the event went to Bolney Wine Estate, which won winery of the year.

Bolney, run by Sam Linter, was awarded the top prize for their outstanding year they’ve had at their Sussex vineyard.

In her opening address, Barrie pointed to certain trends which emerged among the top-scoring wines over the two days of judging.

"With Bacchus, one of the things we noticed and were really impressed by were the wines that had kept the freshness, the purity and tanginess – that’s what we were looking for and what we think Bacchus should be.

"Almost by contrast, when it came to the sparkling wines we really found that those with the extra lees-ageing or bottle-ageing or both were the ones that stood out. We know that market forces can make that tricky to achieve but it is worth mentioning that they were the wines that really wowed us.

"Perhaps most exciting though was quite honestly the potential of the still wines, particularly the Pinot Noirs, the Chardonnays and the white Pinots and I think we’re going to see those categories of wines winning several gold medals over the next couple of years. So really, please keep going with those because we’re very excited to see what happens with those particular grape varieties,” she said.

Photo shows the Bolney Wine Estate team receiving the Winery of the Year awards at the UK Wine Awards 2017. Credit: Tom Gold.