HomeNewsVineyard NewsAGM 2018: Aldwick welcomes winegrowers from across the West Country

AGM 2018: Aldwick welcomes winegrowers from across the West Country

English wine growers from across the West Country gathered at Aldwick Court Farm and Vineyard on Wednesday 14th March for the South West Vineyards Association Spring Meeting and AGM 2018.SWVA_spring_meeting_2018


Many thanks to Sandy Luck, General  Manager and Elizabeth Laver, Vineyard Manager, for their warm hospitality. Sandy is now the Vice Chair of SWVA.


This was Guy Smith’s first full meeting as Chair. Guy runs a small vineyard, Smith & Evans with his partner Laura Evans at Aller, Somerset, specialising in English sparkling wine from traditional Champagne varieties. In his day job he works in the wine trade internationally. Guy’s Chairman’s Report set out his vision for taking the SWVA forward in the context of a burgeoning English Wine Industry. We should position ourselves as what we are, mostly small, family-owned-and-run vineyards producing interesting, authentic, different wines.


The first guest speaker was David Parkinson, new Chief Executive of the SWVA’s national parent body, “Wines of Great  Britain” (“WineGB”). WineGB is newly-formed, the result of a merger between the former parent body, the UK Vineyards Association, with English Wine Producers, the marketing organisation  of the larger English wine producers.




David (photo left) emphasised the speed at which the industry is growing. A million vines were planted in England and Wales last year and this year could top two million. He outlined the work strands that are going on in the new organisation, many of them involving working groups of regional members, including SWVA members. He will be working with the SWVA in approaching local authorities and tourism bodies to ensure they are fully aware of the potential for tourism and economic development being created by  our West Country wine producers.


Over the excellent salad lunch provided by Aldwick Court Farm, Guy

Fizz_tastingorganised a sparkling wine blind tasting in Aldwick's tasting room (photo right). Members blind-tasted a Cava, a Prosecco, a supermarket English Sparkling Wine and three levels of supermarket Champagne: entry level, branded and own-brand vintage. The most-favoured was actually the vintage champagne, a 2009 vintage from Tesco. Only one  member identified all correctly (take a bow, Simon Day!).


Robin Snowdon, of Limeburn Hill Biodynamic Vineyard, near Dundry, Bristol, gave an excellent presentation on biodynamic viticulture and winemaking. Limeburn Hill is one of a handful of biodynamic vineyards in Britain and has just produced its first small vintage, all grown and made according to biodynamic principles. We are all looking forward to sampling their wines in due course to taste the difference.


At the formal AGM, Caroline Gitsham, Head of Marketing for Langham Estate near Dorchester was welcomed to the committee. Caroline will be taking over from Guy in participating in WineGB's marketing working group. Faye Pratt, Alina Stankus and Alison Routh stood down.


If you are interested in joining the SWVA and WineGB, check out the "About"" page of this website and contact Jo Cowderoy, Membership & Operations Manager at WineGB,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it