Earsham wine makers celebrating after international award success

Ben and Hannah Witchell are creating a new vineyard in Earsham near Bungay.
PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Ben and Hannah Witchell are creating a new vineyard in Earsham near Bungay. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

As makers of wine, staff at Flint Vineyard probably spend more time putting corks into bottles than taking them out.

However, the Earsham-based business now have reason to pop corks themselves, after one of their wines brought home an international accolade at a recent awards ceremony.

The winery's Pinot Blanc 2016 has become one of just four English still wines to be recognised with silver medals at the prestigious International Wine Challenge.

Released earlier this year, the white wine - a 2016 vintage - scored 91 out of a possible 100 marks and was highly praised by judges.

The result came after a panel of wine experts took part in a vigorous blind tasting session, judging each entrant for a variety of different qualities.

Among the judges was renowned wine industry figure and television personality Oz Clarke, co-presenter of Oz and James's Big Wine Adventure with James May.

Ben Witchell, Flint Vineyard owner, said: 'This award is the perfect end to a fantastic year.

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'Every wine we've entered in a competition has won something, which is great recognition.

'We can't wait to release the 2017 vintage next year.'

Judges at the international competition described the vintage as: 'Bright green apple and fresh lime character, with lemon thyme and floral, white peach hints, with a very fresh, saline tang.'

The award caps off a successful debut business year for the vineyard, which has now sold out of almost all its 2016 wines - with just one shop nationwide not to completely sell out.

The winery is owned by Mr Witchell and his wife Hannah, who spent 2016 installing the infrastructure and perfecting recipes, before launching the products earlier this year.

Earlier in the year, the vineyard's Bacchus claimed the prize for East Anglian Wine of the Year, the coveted top prize at the East Anglian Vineyards Association's award ceremony.

The pair have since also launched vineyard tours, offering visitors a behind the scenes insight into the wine making process - as well as the inevitable tasting opportunities.