The top winners in the WineGB Awards 2019 were announced this week on Tuesday 23 July, when the industry came together at a glittering ceremony to celebrate of the outstanding achievements in this year’s national competition.
The star of the show was Langham Wine Estate in Dorset, which scooped four trophies including Top Sparkling and the highest accolade in the competition, the coveted Supreme Champion trophy for its Blanc de Blancs Reserve NV.
Justin Langham of Langham Wine Estate commented:
“In our tenth anniversary year I am absolutely delighted that all our hard work and vision has been rewarded with these four superb trophies. We are not only thrilled to be bringing some of these trophies back to Dorset for a third time, but also honoured to be recognised in these industry-leading awards amongst some really top-quality competition.”
The event, attended by producers of all sizes, new and long-established as well as sponsoring suppliers to the industry, press and notable guests took place at Vintners’ Hall, the spiritual home of the UK wine trade.
The ebullient Peter Richards MW was MC for the day, with Head of Judges, Susie Barrie MW and Co-Chair, Oz Clarke presenting the trophies and reinforcing their excitement over the number and quality of wins in the competition. Last year’s high-quality vintage shone through with the high number of medals gained by the still wines.
On the day the UK’s new Prime Minister was announced, a passionate Oz Clarke gave a rousing speech to the guests:
“Whether we are supporters of ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’, we need to have things to be proud of in Britain and the Great British Wine Movement is definitely one of them… We can start dreaming in a way we couldn’t dream before, of something very special happening in the fields of Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and all over the UK. We feel so privileged to judge English and Welsh wines at such a special time.”
A total of 19 Trophies were unveiled. More categories were included this year, illustrating the top-quality wines across the style range in this year’s competition.
Two new trophies were introduced to recognize the ever-expanding industry: Best Boutique Winery (won by Sutton Ridge Vineyard in Somerset) and Newcomer of the Year (Roebuck Estates in Sussex).
Successes were celebrated in different parts of the country this year; Kent scooped the highest number (seven) with four trophies won by Chapel Down and Gusbourne taking three. Gusbourne also scooped the highest number of Gold medals in the competition. Dorset won four trophies – all from Langham Wine Estate - as did Sussex, with the Thames Valley winning three (Harrow & Hope won Winery of the Year and jointly with Alder Ridge took Best Blanc de Noirs).
A further new accolade was announced - the first Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Chris Foss, recently retired Head of Wine Studies at Plumpton College, who founded the department 31 years ago. The enthusiastic applause from the audience signified the high regard in which he is held, with many of the award-winning producers present having been trained under his tutelage.
Commenting on the Awards, Simon Robinson, Chairman of WineGB, said:
“We are very proud of these, our national Awards. They are meticulously organised, and the judging is led by a very strong and professional team from the wine trade to seal the high quality in which any awards are regarded. A medal in this competition is high accolade indeed – to win a trophy represents the pinnacle of success. My congratulations to all our winners this year.”
The 2019 competition was sponsored by two main partners – Waitrose & Partners, a long-standing champion of English and Welsh wines and Rankin Brothers & Sons, a leading manufacturer and supplier of bottle closures to the winemakers of England and Wales. Several suppliers to the industry and trade outlets, all proactive promoters of the industry, also sponsored the range of trophies.
Lists of all trophy and medal winners are available here
WineGB Awards Presentation booklet available here