London's Banqueting House played host to potentially the largest gathering of vignerons on Monday night as it hosted the inaugural World's Best Vineyards 2019 awards. The ceremony crowns 50 wine producers and celebrates their products, with votes cast by The World’s Best Vineyards Academy, which is made up of nearly 500 leading wine aficionados, sommeliers, and luxury travel correspondents from across the globe.
This was the first year that the awards have taken place and Ridgeview Estate, a Sussex-based English wine producer entered the list at number 36, beating big names including Château Mouton Rothschild, Veuve Clicquot and Ruinart. This is a huge accolade for the winery, which has gained critical acclaim in the UK and has even been served by the Queen at official state banquets (they are HRH-approved). Founder Mike Roberts was awarded an MBE for his services to English wine in 2011. Lead by Head Winemaker Simon Roberts (it's truly a family business), Ridgeview has seven different sparkling wines on offer – they only produce English Sparkling Wines.
The top spots were awarded to Argentinian vineyard Zuccardi Valle de Uco, Uruguay's Bodega Garzón and Spanish winery R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia, demonstrating the shift away from French dominance in the wine industry. In fact, France entered the list at 16 with Château Smith Haut Lafitte, followed by the iconic Château Margaux at 22. Big names such as Opus One, the Napa Valley producer, were also present.
To be the only English winery on the inaugural list is an exciting step forward for the Ridgeview team, and CEO Tamara Roberts said: "It is fantastic for Ridgeview to be acknowledged not only for our wines but our beautiful setting amongst the South Downs of Sussex and the awards have placed an important spotlight on England as a global destination for wine tourism." The estate offers tours of the vineyards for anyone wanting to try their delicious sparkling wines, or many London wine bars serve up the Bloomsbury vintage, such as the Coral Room at the Bloomsbury hotel, where it is the house sparkling wine (on a menu of over 30 English Sparkling Wines).