Ditchling winery ‘delighted’ to be crowned World’s Best Winemaker

Staff at Ridgeview wine estate in Ditchling Common receiving the award. Photo by Thomas Alexander Photography
Staff at Ridgeview wine estate in Ditchling Common receiving the award. Photo by Thomas Alexander Photography

A Ditchling winery was crowned World’s Best Winemaker at the International Wine and Spirit Competition 2018 (IWSC).

Staff at Ridgeview wine estate in Fragbarrow Lane, Ditchling Common, said they were delighted to have won the award.

The IWSC attracts entries from more than 90 countries and is seen as a benchmark for quality with more than 400 global experts assisting with the judging.

This is the first time in its 49-year history that the award has been presented to an English producer.

The winery was also awarded English Producer of the Year and Winemaker of the Year for its Marksman 2014, a collaboration with Marks and Spencer.

Ridgeview’s CEO Tamara Roberts said: “It is difficult to comprehend the enormity of this award to Ridgeview and the family. 

“Being the first English sparkling wine producer to win such a coveted trophy from the ‘Oscars’ of the wine world is a huge achievement.

“I love the IWSC for its uncompromising focus on quality which gives all producers a way of benchmarking their wines against the very best in the world. 

“Being recognised as the International Winemaker of the Year shows just what can be done when quality is at the heart of everything you do.

“Our achievements will always be tinged with sadness that Dad is no longer here with us, but we take great comfort that we are living his dream and that life really is for celebrating.”

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The award was announced at the Guildhall in London.

Ridgeview was founded in 1995 by the Roberts family. It was one of the first wineries to be devoted to the production of English sparkling wine.

Founder Mike Roberts (1943–2014) was awarded an MBE for his services to English wine.

The winery is now operated by the second generation of the Roberts family.

Head winemaker Simon Roberts said: “We are truly honoured to be awarded this accolade, we have always held the IWSC with the highest regard.

“When we first started Ridgeview it was our goal to win the best bottle fermented sparkling which we did go on to win twice!

“To win Winemaker of the Year is amazing, especially humbling amongst previous winners who we hold with the greatest esteem.”

Ridgeview wines have been served at four Buckingham Palace State Banquets, many prestigious restaurants and exported to 17 countries around the globe.