*Silver for Ancre Hill in London. A family-owned vineyard that is putting Wales on the international wine stage has scooped a trio of awards at the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC).
Ancre Hill Estates in Monmouth, which only started production six years ago, follows biodynamic farming principles, was awarded a silver for its sparkling rosé 2008, and two bronzes for its sparkling white 2008 and pinot noir 2009 from the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC).
Winemaker David Morris puts his success down to the ‘unique meso-climate’ of the Wye Valley and the vineyard’s conversion to biodynamic principles – planting crops to follow a lunar cycle.
He said: “This was a pleasing result for our sparklings produced in our first season in 2008. Likewise the results for the first pinot noir produced by us in 2009 augurs well for our future pinots.
“Our conversion to biodynamic status is now nearly two thirds through the process and from 2013 we will be making Ancre Hill Estates wines ourselves at our new winery, scheduled to be built in the spring of 2013.”
Wales on the map
The vineyard’s two sites, one six acre and one three acre, are both south facing on well -draining, limestone soils. This, combined with long hours of sunshine and comparatively low rainfall, combine to make it an ideal location for vines, he added.
David Kelly, IWSC group sales and marketing controller, said: “We’re hearing more about English wines and now it’s great that Wales has been put on the map. It’s a tremendous win for Ancre Hill Estates which is a relatively young vineyard and we can’t wait to see what the future promises.”
Ancre Hill Estates made its first Pinot Noir red in 2009 following a perfect summer for vines producing excellent sugar and acidity levels.
Richard continued: “We’re set in the middle of the Wye Valley, an area of outstanding natural beauty, the vineyard is blessed with its own unique meso-climate, surrounded by tree-topped hills on all sides, with the famous Brecon Beacons to the north. The adoption of biodynamic practices from 2011 helps us maintain our beautiful piece of Wales and protect the integrity of our vines.”
Biodynamic agriculture was devised by the philosopher and scientist Rudolf Steiner in 1924 and follows organic principles, excludes artificial chemicals and uses an astronomical sowing and planting calendar.