RAISE your glasses... for the first vintage bubbly from Alder Ridge Vineyard in Hungerford has scooped a silver medal at this year’s prestigious International Wine Challenge (IWC).
The IWC announced the winners of the competition following two weeks of blind-tasting in London, when an expert panel of judges tasted thousands of wines from all corners of the globe. And they loved the Alder Ridge 2013 Blanc de Noirs
Tom Newey, chief executive of Cobbs Farm, which owns the vineyard, said: “Wow! Well, this has come as a complete, but wonderful, shock to us all. To be awarded a silver medal when up against internationally-known ‘brands’ in the wine world from all over the world, clearly means an awful lot to us.
“We see the tireless efforts put into the management of the vineyard by our team and it’s incredibly rewarding to see some recognition for all that effort.”
He added: “Having planted Alder Ridge back in 2011, there are no quick wins in this business and we’re committed to making wines of exceptional quality for many years to come.
“No one can dispute that English wines really are world-class and a definite part of the future.”
Dedicated vineyard staff originally planted around 4,500 Pinot Noir grapes and 1,500 Chardonnay grapes on its five-acre, south-facing slopes.
A spokeswoman for the operation, Katie Westwood, said: “Our farmers tend to the vines on a daily basis – it’s hard work training the vines back to the wires and performing the numerous pruning sessions throughout the winter and spring months, and even harder work when it comes to harvesting the vines, usually around mid-October.
“After harvest our grapes are carefully packed and driven down to Hampshire, and left in the very capable and award-winning hands of Emma Rice at the prestigious Hattingley Valley Wines.
“Here they are nurtured and developed into delicious sparkling wine.”
A vintage sparkling wine is one that comes from grapes grown only during one season, but necessarily a favourable one.
Vintage sparkling wines are not produced from harvests that fail to measure up in quality.