UKVA Awards 2015

The 2015 UKVA (UK Vineyards Association) Awards are shown below by producer and type of wine. Those with a cellar door have a link to more information about that producer, so this should help you find 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.

The following trophies were also awarded:
Vintners’ Trophy – The most outstanding sparkling wine
Langham Wine Estate Classic Cuvée 2011
Jack Ward Memorial Salver – The most outstanding large production wine – 2014 vintage
Albourne Estate Bacchus 2014
McNie Trophy – The most outstanding oaked white wine
Gusbourne Estate Guinevere 2013
Wine Guild Trophy – The most outstanding large production wine – any other year
New Hall Pinot Noir Rosé 2013
Tom Day Trophy – The most outstanding single varietal wine
Albourne Estate Bacchus 2014
Dudley Quirk Memorial Trophy – The most outstanding large production wine (>10,000 litres)
Chapel Down Bacchus 2014
President’s Trophy – The most outstanding small production wine (<1500 litres)
Plumpton Estate The Dean Blush Brut NV
Waitrose Rosé Trophy – The most outstanding still rosé wine
Meopham Valley Vineyard Rosé 2014
Bob Lindo Trophy – The most outstanding sparkling rosé wine
Plumpton Estate The Dean Blush Brut NV
Bernard Theobald Trophy – The most outstanding red wine
Sharpham Vineyard Pinot Noir and Précoce 2013
Berwick Trophy – The most outstanding large production unchaptalised still wine
Hattingley Valley Entice 2014
Stefanowicz Trophy – The most outstanding sweet wine
Hattingley Valley Entice 2014
Montagu Trophy – Best presented wine
Castle Brook Vineyard Classic Cuvée 2009

Three remaining trophies are yet to be unveiled and will be announced at the industry’s annual awards lunch, taking place at the end of July: the prestigious Winemaker of the Year (The McAlpine Trophy) and the Wine of the Year Trophy (The Gore-Browne Trophy) together with the English Wine Producers Communicator of the Year Trophy. The Communicator of the Year recognise the contribution to the UK wine industry that is made by so many and is presented to an individual or business outside the wine industry that has, through their work, raised awareness in the industry and its wines. Nominations for this award are submitted by members of the industry and the winner is selected by a panel of English Wine Producers member producers.

For us, the first statistic to pull out is how many of the award winning producers are visitor-friendly. Seventy two out of the 92 vineyards winning awards have a cellar door. So that’s heading for 80% – a big increase on last year, which was more like two thirds. That increase partly comes from producers opening to the public for the first time, notably Bluebell and Gusbourne in the last year. There are also a couple of new ones that we’ve added to the website as a result of coming across them for the first time in this list, including Fenny Castle in Somerset and Whirlow Hall Farm Trust in Yorkshire, another charity vineyard.

It’s also interesting to note that we’ve visited 44 of those 72 and we’re going to more all the time – it’s those visits that keep information on this website up to date, and which also form the topics of our blog posts on www.EnglishWineLovers.co.uk.

Looking at the top scorers, we expect to see the bigger players. The table is topped by Three Choirs (Gloucestershire & Hampshire) with 12 medals, then New Hall with 11 and Camel Valley on 10, closely followed by Denbies and Sharpham on 9. It’s more than just a numbers game, though, as some producers entered the same wines from different vintages, but it’s fair to say that anyone winning that number of medals will have a good variety of quality wines to try.

This year we have split out both Sweet White and Oaked White from other White wines, which means that no producer has won in every category. The closest is Plumpton College, who won in every category other than Sweet White, including Golds for both Sparkling and Sparkling Rosé, an excellent result for their winemaker Sarah Midgley, and great news for the future of the wine industry from all the student involvement.

There’s a fair smattering of Gold medals in the White column, all the winners of those have won a number of other medals for their whites, so clear strength in depth. There are too many to discuss in detail, but new producer Albourne Estate and Norfolk’s Winbirri are both worth a special mention as smaller producers who have punched above their weight.

If you’re not sure about Oaked Whites, we’d urge you to try some of the medal winners from that column; there is a delicious delicacy and structure, not a heavy oakiness – Gusbourne’s Guinevere being the highest rated. Some of us are fond of English dessert wines and here we have to mention Hattingley Valley, known mainly for their fizz, whose winemaker Jacob Leadley incorporating skills he learned in New Zealand to walk off with a Gold Medal at the first attempt.

Only two Gold Medals were awarded for Rosé – to Albury and Three Choirs. Again, no red wines won a Gold, but Bearley and Sharpham each merited a Silver.

There are so many winners of sparkling it’s worth a detailed look, especially at those producers local to you. We’ve already mentioned Plumpton College with a Gold for both Sparkling and Sparkling Rosé, Langham Estate won the most outstanding sparkling wine and the only other Gold for sparkling rosé went to Hush Heath, not too surprising as it is their speciality.

We’re very excited that so many of the top producers are now open to visitors and have spotted a few we need to head off to soon. Here’s hoping that you will be inspired, too. Cheers!

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