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Nyetimber comes out on top for fourth year in row

Published:  23 July, 2008

Nyetimber won the top prize at the 2006 English and Welsh Wine of the Year Awards for the fourth year running and Chapel Down Estate took away five out of the total of 13 trophies, including the Wine Guild Trophy for its 2004 Tenterden Estate Pinot Noir and the McAlpine Winemaker of the Year Trophy for Owen Elias.

The Gore-Browne Trophy, given to the best large production wine (more than 1500 litres), was awarded to the 1998 Nyetimber Prestige Cuve Blanc de Blancs and presented to new owner Eric Heerema, who bought the West Sussex estate in March 2006.

Chris Varley, general manager of Nyetimber, told Harpers: This year we have expanded from 36 to 194 acres and we planted 216,000 vines in May. This is a long term plan and it will be three or four years before the first harvest.' Varley also indicated that further investment would include the complete restoration of a grade two-listed manor house.

Comments from the judges on this year's entries revealed that sparkling wines were consistently the best category' with ros not far behind.

Previous year vintages of both reds and whites were described as disappointing' - the whites were considered to contain too much CO2 and the reds were unfinished' -although older vintages were found to be better.

One new trophy was introduced this year and presented by its creator, Ian Berwick, previously the general secretary of the United Kingdom Vineyard Association (UKVA). The Berwick Trophy for the best large production of unchaptalised still wine was awarded to Denbies Wine Estate for its 2003 Coopers Brook and Berwick commented: We're trying to encourage naturally-made wines and show how far grape growing has come on in England.'

The other big award of the night - President's Trophy for best small production wine under 1500 litres - went to Three Choirs Vineyards for its 2003 Noble Rot.