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Woodchester – the toast of the wine world

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Woodchester Valley vineyard is the toast of the wine world after its 2021 vintage was judged one of the best Sauvignon Blancs in the world at a prestigious blind-tasting.

Sauvignon Blanc vines, usually associated with places like the Loire Valley, New Zealand and Chile, on a steep, not an exposed hillside in the Cotswolds.

Woodchester Valley, a family-owned vineyard, has taken a top accolade for its ground breaking Sauvignon Blanc 2021. Winning a Master medal at the Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters 2022, it was given the highest possible award in the competition by a panel of expert judges, including Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers, beating international contenders from around the world. It was the only Master medal awarded in the ‘unoaked’ category.

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The award winning wine.

At this competition, run in collaboration with the Drinks Business, judges sought out the very best Sauvignon Blancs on the market from anywhere in the world. The wines are tasted completely blind with the judges having no prior knowledge of the wine producer or the country/region of origin. According to the rigorous judging criteria, a Master medallist must be ‘an outstanding example of its type, showing impeccable winemaking’, therefore marking their Sauvignon Blanc out as one of the very top wines available on the market today. 

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Fields full of vines surround Woodchester Valley Vineyard. Picture: Matt Bigwood.

As the first English still wine to ever win a Master medal across the Masters competitions, this showcases the potential of English still wines in addition to the already well established reputation for English sparkling wines. 

Vineyard founder and owner, Fiona Shiner, took a leap into the unknown when planting Sauvignon Blanc vines on a steep, south-facing limestone slope on the edge of the Cotswolds at Stonehouse, formerly ‘Stanhaus’ where there is mention of vineyards in the Domesday Book. The vines have a history of producing medal winning wines since their first vintage release. 

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Woodchester Valley Vineyard. Picture: Matt Bigwood.

Fiona said: “It’s a phenomenal result for us. Eyebrows were raised in 2015 when I planted Sauvignon Blanc in the Cotswolds… nearly eight years later to have our Sauvignon Blanc wine judged one of the finest in the world and by such a prestigious panel of judges – it really doesn’t get much better than that! From the first taste of the juice from the 2021 harvest we were excited about its potential and are immensely proud of winning this award. We hope this highlights that England can produce great quality still wines as well as sparkling.”

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Winter vines. Picture: Matt Bigwood.

Winemaker Jeremy Mount continued: “Sauvignon Blanc is a relatively new variety to the UK so it’s extremely rewarding to be given this award from such an esteemed panel of judges, acknowledging the quality of our Sauvignon Blanc against other world class wines.”

For those looking to taste the wine for themselves, it can be found at their Cellar Door on the A46 in Woodchester, or available via their website.

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