A WHITCHURCH vineyard has won a top notch award after beating nearly 300 English and Welsh wines to the title.

Coates & Seely’s La Perfide Blanc de Blancs 2009 was awarded overall winner at the first UK Wine Awards, which were announced earlier this month.

The vineyard took home four of the eight trophies in total, including the Supreme Champion, Best Overall Sparkling Wine and Best Sparkling Blanc de Blancs for its Coates & Seely La Perfide Blanc de Blancs 2009.

This also included taking home Best Sparkling Rosé for its Coates & Seely Rosé 2009.

Founders Nicholas Coates and Christian Seely started their joint venture in 2009, convinced that Hampshire’s cool climate and chalk soils could produce sparkling wine to challenge the best champagnes out there.

On the awards, Mr Coates said: “We’re very honoured.

“In eight years we have released just two vintages. These vintages take a long time to age to get the best out of them.

“We have other wonderful vintage wines maturing in the cellar and we think the wines are going to get better.

“Most of our wine is non-vintage sparkling wine.

“We’re confident our wines will be getting better and we’re excited about the future.

“We’re positive about the future and the English sparkling wine sector, particularly in Hampshire – it’s making tremendous progress.

“We’re convinced it’s possible to make world class sparkling wine in Hampshire.

“These results just give us greater confidence and we’re not alone in this.”

Mr Coates added the award winning wine was some of the first they pair produced, and in total, they produce around 65,000 bottles a year.

The awards were created by the UK Wine industry, in association with Hotel du Vin, the boutique hotels chain, Country Life magazine and Waitrose, to celebrate the impressive achievements of English and Welsh sparkling and still wines.

The industry is one of the fastest-growing agricultural sectors in the UK, and has more than doubled in size in the last ten years alone.

The awards received 293 entries, with 20 gold, 36 silver and 127 bronze medals awarded to winning wines.

A panel of 12 experts led by TV presenters, broadcasters and writers Susie Barrie MW (master of wine) and Oz Clarke acted as judges for the event.

Robin Roux, head sommelier at Hotel du Vin, said: “We’ve seen a dramatic increase in demand for English and Welsh wines in recent years.

“People are recognising not just the quality of English and Welsh wines, but the fact that they keep getting better.

“A growing number of customers are looking for advice on pairing English wines with classic dishes, or wanting to support wines produced in their region, and sales are going up and up.”

For more information, visit englishwineproducers.co.uk.