An internet retailer’s competition to find an English wine to list has ended with a panel of customers choosing a sparkling wine from Bolney Estate in Sussex.
Norwich-based Naked Wines staged a blind tasting at Vintners’ Hall in London of 40 sparkling, still white and red wines. There were a number of no-shows from the planned 45 wines as well as a surprise entry of a Moët and Chandon champagne.
The winner secures a £50,000 order from Naked. The winning Sparkling Cuvée Rosé 2009 is available to pre-order at www.nakedwines.com/marketplace for £21.24 a bottle (RRP £24.99).
Zero to Hero awards
The tasting was the second leg of Naked Wines’ $1million Zero to Hero Wine Awards, a consumer-powered competition launched earlier this year to discover the world’s most talented unknown winemakers.
Sam Linter, chief winemaker at Bolney Esate, says: “We are delighted to have won the Naked Wines’ Hero to Zero Wine Award with our Sparkling Cuvée Rosé 2009 made from Pinot Noir grapes. It’s an innovative way of doing business, and gives lesser known producers a platform to shine based purely on talent. Plus, it’s secured us our biggest order to date and access to over 200,000 wine drinkers across the UK – which is a huge boost for Bolney.
“The highlight of running this business has been watching the wines grow into something very unique and special. And for me and the team, it’s great to see that we’ve created something so delicious after all of our hard work”
Sam’s winning wine will be entered into the Zero to Hero Grand Final in November, against wines from France, Spain, Chile, Argentina and Australia, with a chance to win a $500,000 investment contract with the retailer.
Naked Wines is also recruiting hundreds of UK wine drinkers to sit on the judging panel and get paid to drink wine – with the chance to win an all-expenses-paid round-the-world trip to the six winning vineyards worth £50K.
Rowan Gormley, founder and CEO of Naked Wines, adds: “Our goal as a business is to reward genuine winemaking talent, not marketing budget, as there are thousands of top-drawer producers whose wines never make our shores because they don’t have the means to do so. Zero to Hero puts every winemaker who enters on a level playing field, as they’re judged by the juice inside the bottle alone, rather than the size of their wallet – and by hundreds of normal, everyday wine drinkers, rather than a handful of experts or critics.
“From everything we’ve learnt to date, consumer reviews are an incredibly powerful force and are worth ten times any marketing spiel or tasting note when it comes to picking out the gems.”
Consumers can apply to be a judge for future Zero to Hero events here.