The 2014 UKVA (UK Vineyards Association) Awards are shown below by producer and type of wine. This should help you to navigate your way, intellectually and geographically, to UK vineyards with great quality wine of the type you like.
The full list of winners is published by the UKVA and is your source of reference if you want to dig deeper, for instance to find out which particular vintage won an award that you find interesting.
In addition to the awards below, the Gore-Brown trophy for the best large production wine went to Davenport vineyard for their Limney Estate 2009 sparkling wine and the McAlpine Winemaker of the Year trophy went to Emma Rice of Hattingley Valley. Winner of the EWP Communicator of the Year was Victoria Moore (@planetvictoria), wine correspondent at the Telegraph and Olive magazine aswell as a judge on the Radio 4 Food & Farming awards.
Just take a look at the table below – we’ll be surprised if it doesn’t inspire you to head out on a visit to a vineyard. Those listed in pink have a cellar door from which you can buy their wine – just click on the name for more info.
For us, the first statistic to pull out is how many of the award winning producers are visitor-friendly. Thirty seven out of the 56 vineyards have a cellar door. So that’s just about two thirds, but we are hearing of more and more vineyards appreciating the value of tourism and there are some new small producers on this year’s list, so we are sure more of them will be open in the future.
Looking at the top scorers, we expect to see the bigger players. The table is topped by Chapel Down, a Kentish producer with 10 medals, then comes Devon’s Sharpham, well known in the west country but less so elsewhere, with 9. Cornwall’s Camel Valley and New Hall in Essex each gained 8 medals with Bolney Estate from Sussex and the much less well-known Chilford Hall from Cambridgeshire on 7. Notably the only vineyard to win a medal in every single category is Sharpham.
A lot of the publicity around UK wines focusses on sparkling; of the UKVA awards, 61 (35%) were awarded for sparkling wines with the remaining 113 for still wines, although 9 Gold medals were awarded for sparkling wines and only 5 for still.
If you’re looking to buy a Gold medal fizz from the cellar door, Chapel Down (Kent), Hambledon (Hampshire) or Jenkyn Place (Hampshire) are the places to go. For pink fizz head to Camel Valley (Cornwall) or Sharpham (Devon).
As expected, most of the medals for still wines are for white and rosé (in a ratio of about 2:1). If you are looking for a Gold medal winner to visit, the Chapel Down or Somerby in Lincolnshire are the places to go for white; none of the rosé won a Gold.
Just 10 wines won awards for their oaked whites – here Litmus wines dominate with 4 medals; they don’t have a cellar door but a good selection of their wines is available from Denbies, where these winemakers are located. The only Gold was won by Chapel Down. The other one that stands out for me is the Silver won by Plumpton College – if the winemakers of the future are already doing this well with their oaked whites, it suggests that this is a category that will grow.
There were just 10 medals for reds, too. No Golds, but a Silver and a Bronze at Bolney. Other red wine Silver medallists you can visit are Bothy in Oxfordshire and Sharpham.