The SWVA South West Vineyard Association is one of six regional areas representing
English and Welsh vineyards. There are over 100 members of the South
West which includes, Shropshire Wales and all the way through to
There is an annual competition where you may enter your wines to be tasted by MW (Masterof Wines) and other wine professionals to be scored and awards given
to worthy wines!
I was fortunate enough to be invited by Jane and Iain from Oatley where I have been working on a row of vines K5 over the past months. I may need to use the word
What a great day it was the only bit missing was Iain and Jane from Oatley. Unfortunately
Jane had unplanned visit to the hospital for an op on her eye the day
before and had to pop back on the Saturday for a check up.
So off I went for a mini adventure to Sharpham vineyard to meet the members of the SWVA. The wines are judged and tasted the day before which is great as we
then get to taste all the wines that are put in to the competition.
Arriving at 11am, I
believe a coffee might be the first stop followed by a tour of
Shapham vineyard by Mark Sharman the MD of Sharpham and Ian A’Court.
Mark is from the family that owned the estate and Ian A’Court was the
vineyard manager and is a now a vineyard consultant.
It was great to walk around, listen to the technical information of vineyards and be stood
next to people who have been doing this for 20-30 years, pioneers in
the UK wine industry and have dedicated their lives to vines and
making quality wine. I was in my own groupy heaven, I did restrain
myself from asking for autographs, but did take pictures!
English wine doesn’t have the hundred year history that many other wine producing
countries have but what is really exciting to me is that this is that it feels like the beginning and we are now in to the second generation wine makers such as Camel Valley Bob Lindo and his son
The tour came to an end
and the serious tasting started, we didn’t have much time to taste as
we had to sit down for dinner but we could take the bottles through
to dinner. If only I wasn’t driving!
I didn’t get to taste
all the wines on show that day but I picked out a few, I tasted Smith
and Evans from Aller vineyard owned by Guy and Laura, I knew it was
their first harvest and only 600 bottles produced so I had to taste
before it all goes! Really fresh and crisp, could even give a Chablis
a run for its money!
Pebblebed is a vineyard
talked about with the Dragon Dens input so of course had to try that.
It helped to chat with Nigel who works on the vineyard, I tasted the
rose and and their red. I really enjoyed their red made from ronda it
was light in body and yet tasty, with green herbaceous notes.
Of course I tasted
Oatley to see how that stood against the other wines. Who am I to judge lets see what the Master of Wines had to say.
Dinner was served and yes it was srcummy! Pork casserole and food kept arriving with
Sharpham cheese, delicious bread and scrumptious desserts. They have
just won Gold in the Taste of the West Awards!
Brian Shirley of Wraxall Vineyard the chair of the SWVA stood up to present the
awards. There were many awards presented for highly commended, bronze
and silver. Oatley winning a good handful of certificates. We then
come to the trophies of the best of….
The winner of the Best Dry White wine goes to Oatley, Janes 2009! My first attendance here and I get to stand up and pick up a cup. Ok so it wasn’t for me, but
hey I felt special.
I popped back into Oatley on my way home to make sure the Best Dry White award reached the rightful owners.