International Wine Challenge

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About International Wine Challenge

The International Wine Challenge (IWC) owned by William Reed Business Media is now in its 35th year. The IWC is accepted as the world's finest and most meticulously judged wine competition which assesses every wine blind and judges each for its faithfulness to style, region and vintage Throughout the rigorous judging processes, each medal winning wine is tasted on three separate occasions by at least 10 different judges and awards include medals (Gold, Silver, Bronze) and Commended awards

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Elly Barham-Marsh Helen Kenny
Manifest London
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International Wine Challenge

Homegrown Sparkle: Fourteen English sparkling wines pick up Gold at International Wine Challenge in record year of success

Vintage year for English wines at 32nd International Wine Challenge

  • 14 English Sparkling wines awarded Gold medal at International Wine Challenge 2015
  • Record year of success for England with total of 72 wines receiving medals, compared with 38 in 2014
  • Diversity and quality improves across industry with more vineyards and styles scooping prizes

The English countryside is famed for its beauty, but it is fast becoming a mecca for fine wine production as well. English Sparkling wines have had a record year of success at the International Wine Challenge 2015. 14 sparklers picked up Gold medals at the prestigious blind tasting competition, with consumers becoming increasingly seduced by England’s home grown fizz.

  • Following reports last month from Waitrose that sales of English Sparkling wine had rocketed by 177 per cent compared with the same week the previous year,wine makers from Kent, Hampshire, Sussex, Cornwall and Surrey demonstrated their star quality, and received top prizes at the competition.
  • Sussex-based vineyard Court Garden Limited received two Gold medals for its Court Garden Vintage Blanc De Blancs 2010 and its Court Garden Vintage Blanc De Noirs 2010 and was the only English vineyard to receive more than one Gold medal at the competition.
  • England’s largest vineyard Chapel Down won the highest total number of medals including a Gold for its Chapel Down Blanc de Blancs 2009. The vineyard that grows grapes for sparkling wine over 326 acres of Kentish countryside also received three Silver medals and five Bronze medals at the competition.
  • A handful of English wineries received Gold medals for the first time at the competition, as more of our native  winemakers master their craft. Hampshire-based Hambledon Vineyard, home of the rebirth of English wine in the twentieth century, received its first ever Gold medal for its NV Classic Cuvée. Also hailing from Hampshire, Cottonworth and Hattingley Valley Wines were both awarded their inaugural Gold medals, for their Classic Cuvée NV and Classic Cuvée 2010 respectively.
  • Sussex produced two first time Gold medal winners, with Bluebell Vineyard Estate striking Gold for the first time at the competition with its Hindleap Brut Blanc de Blancs 2010. Wiston Estate Winery was awarded Gold for its Wiston Estate Rosé 2011 in the first tranche of the 2015 competition in November.
  • The High Clandon Succession Cuvée 2009 produced by High Clandon Estate Vineyard in Surrey also received its inaugural Gold medal at the competition. Family-run Kent vineyard Squerryes also picked up Gold for the first time for its Squerryes Brut 2010.
  • Camel Valley from Cornwall received two Gold medals at the competition last year, and impressed the judges once again, winning Gold for its Pinot Noir Rosé Brut 2013, as well as two Silver medals and four Bronzes.
  • Situated on the South Downs, Breaky Bottom received its second consecutive Gold medal at the competition. Its 2009 Sparkling Brut received Gold this year, following its Breaky Bottom Cuvée Reservé Brut 2010 striking Gold last year. Kent-based Gusbourne Estate was also awarded a Gold medal for the second time in two years, this time for its Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs LD 2007.
  • Generally famed for its sparkling wine, the IWC also awarded seven Silver medals and 21 Bronze medals to English still wines. Bolney Estate produced the only medal winning English red wine, with its Foxhole Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013 being awarded a Silver medal. The Sussex vineyard also received three Bronze medals for its white wines. West Street Vineyards was the only East Anglia vineyard to receive a medal, with its West Street White 2013 picking up Bronze.
  • Typically the English wine industry is associated with the Southern counties, however at this year’s competition medals were also awarded to wineries based further north. Halfpenny Green Vineyard based just west of Birmingham received a Silver medal and two Bronzes, while two Bronze medals were also awarded to Ryedale Vineyards located north-east of York.
  • Wales’ burgeoning wine industry was also evident at the competition, with three Welsh wineries picking up Commended prizes. Parva Farm Vineyard received Commended prizes for its Tintern Parva Bacchus 2013 and its Tintern Parva Bwthyn Rhosyn 2013. White Castle Vineyard also received a Commended award for its 2013 Regent, and Ancre Hill Estates picked up a Commended prize for its Blanc De Noirs 2010.


Charles Metcalfe, Co-Chairman of the IWC commented:

“2015 has been a record year for English vineyards, with an amazing haul of medals at the competition. Compared with other countries, there is a high proportion of Gold and Silver medals being awarded, showing these English winemakers are true masters of their craft. You can happily pour an IWC medal winning bottle of English fizz with pride.”

“The increased variety and quality this year astounded the judges. We have come to expect top quality sparkling wines from certain vineyards, but it was wonderful to more wineries scooping top prizes, and more diversity across different styles. On the evidence of the English wines we tasted at the competition, our national wine industry has a very bright future.”

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