Almost every bottle of English and Welsh wine entered in the Decanter World Wine Awards 2012 succeeded in gaining a medal or commendation. This result made the UK the most successful region, judged by the percentage of entries winning a medal in the international competition, comfortably beating Old and New world producers.

Eighty-nine percent of English and Welsh wines won a medal in the competition, which attracted 14,120 wines this year. The best mainstream producer was New Zealand which achieved 92%. The October issue of influential consumer wine magazine Decanter contains the results which showed some 85 medals and commendations made to some 95 English and Welsh wine bottles entered.

Decanter’s managing editor Amy Wislocki is convinced that English and Welsh wine’s success at the awards reflects significant advances in the standards of wine grown and produced in the UK. She says:  “In my view, this is an achievement that UK growers can be very proud of and a reflection of the huge increase in quality – particularly in sparkling wines – that we have seen over the past few years.

“There is a common perception among consumers that English sparkling wine is somewhat of a curiosity, and should be priced at a level lower than Champagne. These results demonstrate that it is a category to be taken seriously, and the best sparkling wines – such as the Trophy-winning Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2007 – can more than hold their own against Champagnes.”

Chenin Blanc on the podium

While France triumphed with six International Trophies, closely followed by Chile with five, China is again on the winner’s podium with the Red Bordeaux Varietal Under £10 Trophy for Chateau Reifeng-Auzias Cabernet 2010.

Highlights of the awards included:

  • The most successful grape was Chenin Blanc
  • The most successful region was the UK
  • Since the Awards’ debut in 2004 there has been little, or no, variance in the percentage of wines winning medals
  • In 2004 there were 4,500 entries, a number that has increased by an average 20% every year
  • The most-entered grape is – unsurprisingly – Chardonnay, with 1,338 wines. That is followed by Syrah/Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc
  • France and Australia dominate the Chardonnay winners, while New Zealand heads the list of the most successful mainstream regions with 92% of entries winning a medal

Wislocki’s readers may have international tastes but are displaying a growing appreciation of English and Welsh wine. A recent Decanter poll – asking whether readers would consider English sparkling as good as Champagne – saw more than half respondents say they rate English versions as good as Champagne while further quarter suggested that English sparkling has potential to match Champagne.

Wislocki says: “Achieving 89% is a considerable achievement. Often only Sherry, Maderia and Port reach that level of success. This however is an incredible achievement for straight wine.

She admits to a knowledge and liking of English and Welsh wine, saying: “I would like to drink more of it. I enjoy Bacchus and Ortega varieties. I enjoy white wine but have yet to be convinced about red wine, especially in relation to its price.”

Wines from 28 English and Welsh vineyards were entered into the awards.


Awards and commendations for English and Welsh wine

Decanter World Wine Awards 2012



Camel Valley Pinot Noir Brut 2010

Hush Heath Estate Balfour Brut Rosé 2008



Ancre Hill Estates Sparkling 2008

Breaky Bottom Cuvée Francine 2007

Chapel Down Marks & Spencer Sparkling Rosé NV

Chapel Down Three Graces 2008

Denbies Wine Estate Noble Harvest 2011

Furleigh Estate Bacchus Fumé 2010

Furleigh Estate Classic Cuvée 2009

Gusbourne Estate Rosé 2008

Henners Reserve 2009

Henners Vintage 2009

Hush Heath Estate Balfour Brut Rosé 2009

Jenkyn Place Vineyard Rosé 2008

Nyetimber Classic Cuvée 2007

Nyetimber Rosé 2008

Plumpton Estate The Dean Blush NV

Ridgeview Grosvenor 2009

Ridgeview Victoria Rosé 2009

Sharpham Vineyard Sparkling 2009

Strawberry Hill Vineyard Premier Sparkling 2008



Bluebell Vineyard Estates Hindleap Blanc de Blancs 2009

Bolney Wine Estate Cuvée Rosé 2009

Bolney Wine Estate Pinot Noir 2011

Breaky Bottom Cuvée Alexandre Schwatschko 2008

Breaky Bottom Cuvée Princess Colonna 2008

Brightwell Vineyard Crispin 2010

Camel Valley Annie’s Anniversary 2009

Camel Valley Bacchus 2011

Camel Valley Brut 2010

Camel Valley Darnibole Bacchus 2011

Camel Valley Darnibole Bacchus 2010

Camel Valley Pinot Noir Brut 2009

Camel Valley White Pinot 2009

Chapel Down Blanc De Blancs 2007

Chapel Down Marks & Spencer Sparkling Reserve Brut NV

Chapel Down Pinot Reserve 2005

Chapel Down Pinot-Chardonnay 2006

Chapel Down Rosé Brut NV

Chapel Down Tenterden Estate Bacchus Reserve 2010

Coates & Seely Blanc De Blancs NV

Coates & Seely Rosé NV

Davenport Vineyards Limney Blanc de Blancs 2007

Davenport Vineyards Limney Horsmonden 2010

Denbies Wine Estate Sainsburys Taste The Difference Sparkling Brut 2007

Gusbourne Estate Brut Reserve 2007

Jenkyn Place Vineyard 2008

Litmus Wines Element 20 2010

Meopham Valley Rosé 2009

Oatley Vineyard Leonora’s 2010

Plumpton Estate The Dean Brut NV

Ridgeview Bloomsbury 2009

Ridgeview Cavendish 2009

Ridgeview Knightsbridge 2009

Ridgeview Marksman 2009

Ridgeview South Ridge Blanc de Noirs 2009

Ridgeview South Ridge Brut 2009

Ridgeview South Ridge Rosé 2009

Sharpham Vineyard Dart Valley Reserve 2010

Sharpham Vineyard Sparkling Pink 2009

Tesco English White 2011

Three Choirs Vineyards Blanc De Noir 2009

Wickham Vineyard Special Reserve 2009

Wissett Wines Gloriana Brut Rosé 2009



Gusbourne Estate Blanc De Blancs 2007



Ancre Hill Estates Pinot Noir 2009

Ancre Hill Estates Sparkling Rosé 2008

Bluebell Vineyard Estates Hindleap Brut Rosé 2009

Bluebell Vineyard Estates Hindleap Classic Cuvée 2009

Bluebell Vineyard Estates Hindleap Seyval Blanc 2008

Camel Valley Rosé 2011

Chapel Down Bacchus Reserve 2010

Chapel Down Chardonnay 2010

Chapel Down Pinot Blanc 2010

Chapel Down Vintage Reserve Brut NV

Furleigh Estate Bacchus Dry 2010

Marks & Spencer English Rosé 2010

Sharpham Vineyard Bacchus 2010

Sharpham Vineyard Barrel Fermented 2010

Sharpham Vineyard Estate Selection 2010

Sharpham Vineyard New Release 2011

Sharpham Vineyard Rosé 2010

Sharpham Vineyard Summer Red 2010

Stopham Estate Pinot Gris 2010

Three Choirs Vineyards Annum 2011

Upperton Nebula 2009