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Camel Valley scoops top trophy in UK national competition

Camel Valley has cause to be popping a few bottles of its sparkling wine in celebration. That’s because the vineyard has just scooped the top prize in the English and Welsh Wine of the Year Competition for its Cornwall Pinot Noir Rosé 2004. Not only that, Camel Valley’s Sam Lindo was also named UK Winemaker of the Year and the vineyard won best sparkling wine and three of the seven Gold medals awarded for three of its bubblies. And if that wasn’t enough, Sam Lindo was also responsible for making the Polgoon Vineyard wine that won the best rosé accolade in the competition.

Bob Lindo, Camel’s Valley managing director and Sam’s father, said, ‘I am just so proud of Sam and all the team at Camel Valley. It’s a fantastic achievement earned by very, very hard work.’ He told ThirtyFifty that, ‘Sam has made a lot of innovations since he took over as winemaker – things he picked up while working in New Zealand,’ and added, ‘My son would rather make wine than be doing anything else.’

Other awards in the competition included a double for Chapel Down’s Bacchus Reserve 2005, which was named Best Wine of Other Year’s Vintage and Best Single Varietal, while the Best Red Wine was awarded to the 2004 Pinot Noir from Sandhurst Vineyard. Denbies Redlands 2004, another red, won Best Wine Produced in Commercial Quantities, while, at the other end of the scale, Ickworth Vineyard in Suffolk was a first-time trophy winner with its Walled Garden White 2005 taking Best Small Production Wine.

Chairman of Judges Patricia Stefanowicz said, ‘We agreed unanimously that the main stars of the show were rosés – both still and sparkling – and sparkling whites.’ She added that sparkling rosé is a style that clearly works well in England.

This year saw a record number of entries from a large number of vineyards, of which nearly 70 per cent gained an award. As well as the seven Gold medals, there were 12 Silver, 61 Bronze and 60 Highly Commended awards. However, earlier vintage wines overall showed better than the 2006 vintage. This was partly due to the more difficult year last year compared with earlier vintages.