We'll drink to this! 27 wine producers in west go head-to-head at 50th anniversary contest

By Staff Reporter [email protected]

Published: September 6, 2021 | Updated: 6th September 2021

Twenty seven producers – from amateur enthusiasts to internationally-renowned wine estates – will show almost 100 wines at the 50th WineGB West Annual Competition.

The competition, now in its 50th year, aims to highlight the quality of wines being produced in the West including those from Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.

A panel of expert judges will gather for the competition at the Langham Wine Estate, about 11 miles from Dorchester, next Monday and Tuesday, September 13 and 14.

Guy Smith, Chairman of WineGB West who owns Smith and Evans Wine in Somerset, believes wines from the West don’t receive as much recognition as they deserve.

He said: “A lot of the vineyards in the West are smaller and family-owned unlike some from other more well-known wine regions in the UK.

“We want to highlight the quality of wine on offer in our region and showcase some of the less conventional styles being made here.”

Producers entering their wines include Sharpham Wine, Three Choirs Vineyard and the Langham Wine Estate.

But who will be named supreme champion of the West will be down to the expert judging panel made up of wine consultants, critics, a sommelier and winemaker.

Justin Langham, Owner of the Langham Wine Estate and former WineGB West supreme champion, pictured, said: “We are delighted to be hosting the two-day event at Langham.

“It’s a great way to demonstrate the high quality of the wines available in the West being made by small, family-owned producers from their one-hectare vineyard to larger estates.”

Judging will take place on Monday.

The winners of the trophies and medals will be announced during the members day on Tuesday.

The trophies are: Best Wine, Best Red, Best Dry White, Best Oaked White, Best Rosé, Best Sparkling, Best Sparking Rosé, Best Bacchus, Best Non-Dry White, Wine of the Year.

The medals, awarded in line with international judging standards, are: Gold, Silver, Bronze.

Angela Mount, wine consultant, writer and presenter, is chairing the judges.

The other judges are:

  • Susy Atkins. wine writer
  • Simon Thorpe MW, Chief Executive of WineGB
  • Zoe Drive, Assistant Winemaker at Black Chalk Wines
  • Tom Lakin, Head Sommelier of Casamia Restaurant in Bristol
  • Yannick Loue, Le Vignoble (Plymouth, Bath & Bristol).

Langham Wine Estate was named IWSC Sparkling Wine Producer of the Year (November 2020 to November 2021).

Planted in 2009, the Crawthorne vineyard spans 12 hectares planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and is located on a sheltered south facing slope 90 metres above sea level.

Now a world-class wine estate, the Langham vineyard was originally established by John Langham on a very small scale.

In 2009 John’s son, Justin Langham, decided to develop his father’s rudimental vineyard into a commercial venture, and planted 30 acres at their Crawthorne Farm.

The boutique winery produces between 50,000 and 60,000 bottles of sparkling wine per year priced from £27.50.

Justin heads up the team which includes winemaker Tommy Grimshaw.

Langham Wine Estate hosts regular events, tours and tastings.

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