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Published:  23 July, 2008

Sparkling wines took most of the plaudits at the 28th United Kingdom Vineyards' Association (UKVA) English and Welsh Wine of the Year Competition, winning all three gold medals and the Gore-Browne Trophy for Wine of the Year (RidgeView Estate's 1998 Cuve Merret Cavendish). Speaking at the event, which took place on 24 July at the House of Lords, chairman of judges, David Wrigley MW, said: The sparkling wines were a pleasure to judge, with wines of real style, balance and character from both fruit and autolysis. The best of them are simply world-class wines.' Of the 147 still and sparkling wines entered, 99 were given medals or awards, with ten trophies awarded to wines rated outstanding in their class. Stephen Skelton, chairman of the UKVA, used the occasion to outline attempts to convince the British Government to bring in a Progressive Wine Duty', similar to that used for small beer producers. Skelton said that if this could be secured for the UK's wine growers, those producing up to 175 tons of grapes a year would pay only 58p per bottle (half the current wine duty), with larger growers paying a progressively increasing rate.