A NEW Hampshire vineyard made its mark at the national wine awards, coming top in the region and being awarded best newcomer for one of its champagnes.

Candover Brook was crowned ‘Best in Wessex’ at the finale of the WineGB awards this month.

The ceremony at Drapers Hall, in London, invited all the gold medal winners for a celebratory luncheon with awards co-chairs Susie Barrie and Oz Clarke announcing the trophy and regional champions.

The vineyard, based between Alresford and Basingstoke in the Candover Valley, also received ‘Best Newcomer’ for its Candover Brut NV.

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This year, judging took place on Hampshire soil with nearly 350 wines from across the country being tasted at Exton Park Vineyard in the Meon Valley. All the gold medal winners were re-tasted on the third and fourth days of judging to select the trophy winners.

Co-chair Susie Barrie, from Hampshire, said: “What’s perhaps most satisfying about chairing this competition each year, beyond the sheer joy of being able to taste and compare so many of the UK’s finest wines, is seeing new names appear on the list of medals.

"For a competition like this to have value, it needs to attract the best of the best, whether new or established, large, medium or small. We want to taste the wines of producers who push the boundaries and are uncompromising in their quest for quality, and we have yet to be disappointed."

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Oz Clarke said: “We judges get such a thrill when we realise we’ve given medals to wineries we didn’t know, and it’s really rewarding to think we’re setting them on the path to greater things. We have a wine nation that has barely begun to exploit its potential. Every year we have more growers and winemakers brimming over with imagination and ambition.”

Interim CEO for WineGB, Ned Awty, said: “This year’s awards saw a record number of entries and has embraced the wide scope and range of styles we now proudly produce in Britain. There are great results from small and large producers alike and from different regions across the country. We’re really proud of what this competition is setting out to achieve – to highlight and promote the excellence of our producers and wines.”

Candover Brook’s success follows on from award wins from the International Wine Challenge and wine publisher Decanter, with two of its wines receiving praise earlier this year.