The prestigious Llanerch Vineyard Hotel at Hensol in the Vale of Glamorgan was a fitting choice of venue for the 2021 Welsh Vineyards Association annual wine competition held on Tuesday 25th May. Due to the current COVID rules, the competition was not able to be open to the public but Ryan Davies, owner of Llanerch Vineyard Hotel, arranged everything so that the judging could go ahead in safety.
43 wines were forward to be judged in the competition which was divided into 2 parts: the Welsh National competition which was open to wines made with at least 85% of grapes produced in Wales and the Welsh Open competition for any wines produced in the U.K. Both sections had 5 classes- one each of still white, rosé and red and one each of sparkling white and rosé. There was also a class for the best label.
Each of the wines were tasted by the three wine experts who had been invited to judge the competition. They were Simon Thorpe, Master of Wine, who is the CEO of WineGB and is also an independent wine business consultant with 30 years of senior industry experience. Richard Ballantyne – also a Master of Wine and has been in the wine business for over 30 years. He is now director of retailer Noble Grape based in Cowbridge, South Wales. Simon Awdry also has over 30 years experience in the drinks trade and is Welsh regional manager with, Liberty Wines.
Commenting on the wines judged on the day. Simon Thorpe said that he was very impressed with the overall quality of the wines but especially by the reds. Richard Ballantyne added that he had made some sensational discoveries amongst the Welsh wines, and Simon Awdry was also impressed by the red wines and that Welsh wines seem to be improving all the time.
35 wines were awarded medals, with 8 wines silver medals in the Welsh National competition. The winners of the 5 classes were:
The best label award also went to White Castle Vineyard.
There were no Open entries in the sparkling rosé class but the others were well supported with Dropmore Vineyard winning the white, Brightwell Vineyard, the rosé, Pant Du Vineyard the red and Llanerch Vineyard, the sparkling. The Thomas Davies Memorial trophy for the best wine in the competition was awarded to White Castle Vineyard for their Rosé 2020. Nicola Merchant said how delighted she and Robb were to have won the awards.