Welsh wine has graced the dining tables of world leaders and won international acclaim, now Wales’ growing reputation as a top quality wine producer is to be celebrated at the inaugural Welsh Vineyard Association annual competition.
Held at Llanerch Vineyard in the Vale of Glamorgan on October 28th 2013, and judged by some of the top names in the wine world, the competition will feature entries from members of the newly re-formed Welsh Vineyard Association (WVA).
Wales now boasts 17 vineyards, the majority of which have already joined the WVA – which was re-launched during Welsh Wine Week (May 25 – June 2) with support from the Welsh Government.
Minister for Natural Resources and Food Alun Davies said: “I’m delighted to see the Welsh Vineyard Association launching its annual competition. Welsh wine is certainly making a name for itself at home and abroad and I’m sure this competition with its distinguished panel of judges will certainly put Wales on the map.”
It is a fruitful time for Welsh wine, which is enjoying a surge in success both at home and on the international scene with a number of wines successfully competing with their continental counterparts on the global stage.
“Welsh wines are definitely gaining in stature and reputation, and Wales is now producing wine to rival anything that can be found anywhere in the world,” said WVA chairman Richard Morris, who with his wife Joy runs the multi-award winning Ancre Hill Estates vineyard near Monmouth, one of only two biodynamic vineyards in the UK.
Ancre Hill is among the growing band of Welsh vineyards that have seen their achievements acknowledged on the international stage, and last year its 2008 Sparkling White was named ‘Best White Sparkling Wine in the World’ at the Bollicine del Mondo International competition in Italy. The Estate has also just been awarded its first International Gold medal at the China Wine & Spirits Awards held in Hong Kong.
Along with increasing critical appreciation and commercial success interest in producing wine in Wales is growing too with a number of new vineyards planted in recent years.
Said Mr Morris, “It is an exciting time for the Welsh wine industry, we have a growing number of vineyards the length and breadth of Wales – some have been established some time while others are still very young. Also the sunny weather we had this summer produced a magnificent crop of grapes which bodes very well for next year’s wines.”
The WVA has invited an illustrious panel of judges to cast their expert palates over the competition entries, which are split into three classes: Still White or Rosé, Red, and Sparkling – and will be blind tasted and marked using the rigorous Decanter World Wine Awards format.
Head judge is Decanter World Wine Award senior judge and Michelin starred chef, Roger Jones.
Originally from Lampeter Mr Jones is chef patron of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn and was recently appointed consultant chef at The Park House in Cardiff.
He is a member of the Decanter Tasting Panel as well as a judge on Imbibe’s Sommelier Challenge and is currently Vice Chairman of The Master Chefs of Great Britain.
Joining him in the judging process will be Bill Gunn – former Managing Director of the famous Champagne producer Pol Roger, and Julie Bell from the Felin Fach Griffin near Brecon, winner of the Best Pub Wine List of the Year award at the 2012 Imbibe awards.
While the inaugural competition has yet to take place the momentum continues to grow and the WVA has its sights on the future with plans to expand the organisation’s membership and the scope of the annual competition.
Said Mr Morris, “It is incredibly important we as an Association and producers move forward. We hope to attract non vineyard members too – people interested in wine and Welsh food and drink – and our aim is for the WVA annual competition to become an international event with Welsh and international classes.”
The Welsh Vineyards Association have received support from the Welsh Government to establish their new Wine Trail Wales which features 16 vineyards in Wales and also to promote Welsh Wine Week.
NOTES TO EDITORS
For more information about the WVA or the competition please contact:
Richard Morris, Chairman Welsh Vineyards Association
T: 01600 714152 or 07885 984918
For more information please contact:
Enfys Jones, Welsh Government Public Relations Manager – Food Promotion
T: 0300 0622466 / 07890 541385.
About Welsh Vineyards
More than 20 different grape varieties are grown in Wales with Welsh vineyards producing around 100,000 bottles of wine each year.
The Romans and French monks are said to have introduced wine to Britain, but it was Lord Bute who is credited with planting Wales’ first commercial vineyard in 1875 at Castell Coch near Cardiff.
In recent years Welsh wine has taken centre stage at major political events, most notably when Britain held the Presidency of the European Union which saw Tintern Parva from Monmouthshire served at the European Summit meeting, and wines from the Vale of Glamorgan’s Glyndwr Vineyard are served in the House of Lords’ and have graced European State banquets.
Many vineyards welcome visitors for tours and tasting sessions as part of Wine Trail Wales. For more details go to www.winetrailwales.co.uk