One of the best wines in the world is made in Norfolk

Lee Dyer at Winbirri Vineyard in Surlingham. Picture: SIMON FINLAY.

Lee Dyer at Winbirri Vineyard in Surlingham. Picture: SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A Norfolk winemaker will be raising a glass after becoming the first English vineyard in history to win a major international award for a still wine.

Winbirri Vineyards won the accolade of world's best single varietal white wine at the internationally renowned Decanter World Wine Awards 2017 (DWWA), which saw 17,200 entries.

The Bacchus 2015 – which won the wine of the year trophy at the English and Welsh Wine of the Year Competition in 2016 – scored 95/100 to win the platinum best in show title.

Head winemaker Lee Dyer said the county's climate makes it an ideal place to grow the Bacchus grape, as it favours the drier autumnal conditions seen at his vineyard in Surlingham.

'Norfolk has so much potential as a wine region, particularly when it comes to still wines. I think Bacchus has to be the jewel in the crown and, more importantly, for my site as it just works so well here. The flavour profiles and aromas we can achieve here from our vines are second to none,' he said.

'I'm in this for the long-haul and am looking forward to giving Sussex, Kent and the rest of the south coast a good run for their money over the next few years.'

Of winning the award, he said: 'It makes all the hard work worthwhile and it will help put England and Norfolk on the map as a region capable of making world-class wines.

'It's also a fantastic endorsement for us and proves the quality of the wines. It is good to see them get the recognition they deserve.'

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Stephen Skelton, head judge for the UK region at DWWA, said the Winbirri Bacchus packed a 'powerful, fruit-filled palate' with an 'acid-toned finish'.

'This is the type of dry English wine that will please any discerning palate,' he added.

Although only on its fourth vintage, Winbirri has already picked up eight awards in three years, including East Anglian wine of the year.

Looking to the future, Mr Dyer said red wine, especially Pinot Noir, could play a big part.

'Sparkling wine will also feature – nearly a third of the vineyard is planted to sparkling varieties, but I'm certainly not jumping on the band wagon and only heading in a sparkling route,' he said.

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