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English Wine Festival hit by bad weather

Published:  23 July, 2008

Global warming may be coming and southern England may one day be bedecked with vines, but it was traditional sunshine and showers - with strong winds - last weekend when the English Wine & Regional Food Festival took place in East Sussex.

The vagaries of the English weather affected attendance, with show organiser Steve Mitchell reckoning that approximately 1,000 people had come to the English Wine Centre just outside Alfriston in East Sussex where the festival was staged. He had been hoping for around 1,500.

Despite the poor weather in August, Peter Hall, owner of East Sussex producer Breaky Bottom told Harpers that the 2006 harvest was looking good after a warm late June and early July had meant good flowering.

Participants included: Battle Wine Estate, Biddenden Vineyards, Bookers Vineyard, Breaky Bottom, Carters Vineyards, Kemp's Wines, Plumpton College (see page 26), RidgeView, Sandhurst Vineyards, the Cambridge School of Wine, the Iron Railway Vineyard, the Vine House and Warnham Vineyard.

The results of the annual English Wine Festival Competition were also announced during the event.

Wine of the Show

2005 Biddenden Ortega

Highly commended: Kemp's Brut

Dry White

2005 Biddenden Ortega

Oaked White

2004 Warnham Vale

Medium Dry

2005 Iron Railway Old Tramway


Kemp's Brut


2005 Biddenden Gribble Bridge


2004 Bookers Pinot Noir

Dessert/Late Harvest

1999 Breaky Bottom Late Harvest

Public Wine of the Show

2004 Warnham Vale The Gap

Davenport wins Soil Association award

Davenport Vineyards won the the Soil Association's 2006 Organic Food Awards gold medal, with its 2005 Limney Horsmonden' dry white wine made from organic grapes grown in Kent and then taken to its modern winery in Rotherfield in East Sussex. Will Davenport converted all his vineyards to organic management in 2000. Organic principles continue in the winery, using natural yeasts from the grape skins and only minimal filtration.

Davenport Vineyards makes approximately 10,000 bottles of its Limney Horsmonden wine each year, and is one of the few organic wineries in the UK. The wine is sold through selected shops and restaurants, and also by mail order from its website.

Turn to page 26 for feature on winemaking at Plumpton