Winemakers celebrate vintage year

EAST Anglian winemakers have celebrated a vintage year for English wines at a regional awards ceremony. Judges were full of praise for the standard of wines at this year's East Anglian Wine of the Year awards, held at New Hall Vineyard, Purleigh, near Maldon, yesterday .

EAST Anglian winemakers have celebrated a vintage year for English wines at a regional awards ceremony.

Judges were full of praise for the standard of wines at this year's East Anglian Wine of the Year awards, held at New Hall Vineyard, Purleigh, near Maldon, yesterday .

More than 50 wines from over 20 regional vineyards vied for the top spot in four categories, and this year saw a record number of sparklers entered.

Carters Vineyards, at Boxted, near Colchester, struck gold with its 2003 red wine, which scooped the Founders Trophy and the title East Anglian Wine of the Year.


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Piers Greenwood, owner of New Hall Vineyard, scooped two gold awards for his wines - the highest haul of the competition - while Sandyford Vineyard, in Great Sampford, Saffron Walden, took a silver medal.

Mr Greenwood, who organised the event and is chairman of the East Anglian Wine Growers Association, has just doubled the size of his vineyard after planting out more than 100 acres of new vines.

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He said the prestigious event had gone “very well indeed”. “The judges said it was an extraordinarily high standard,” he said. “It was probably one of the best wine tastings they have done for a long, long time.”

The judges were international tasters whose standards were very high, he pointed out. “The standard of wine seems to be improving every year, and this year has excelled,” he added. “This tasting was by far the best they have ever had in quality overall.”

English wines were continuing to improve, he said, and hopes are now high for this year's crop if the hot weather continues.

East Anglia is now an EU Wine Region and the competition was judged by well known Masters of Wine to international standards. Wines that qualify by their marks in the competition can carry the Regional appellation on their labels in the same way as Rioja in Spain or Bordeaux in France.

Carters Vineyard was the competition winner, taking the title East Anglian Wine of the Year, and a gold medal, for its King Coel 2003 red wine.

New Hall took the Berwick Trophy for a 2005 vintage with its Bacchus medium dry white wine and the Cooper Trophy for any other vintage for its Ortega medium dry.

Sandyford Vineyard scooped the sparkling wine Spear Trophy award and a silver medal for its Sandyford Vineyard Sparkling 2004.

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