How a Stroud vineyard saw off the big names to win 'world's best wine' award

A close-up shot of Woodchester vineyard's award-winning sauvignon blanc
Woodchester Valley beat established rivals to the coveted crown Credit: ITV News

Until now wine production in Gloucestershire has been something of a well-kept secret.

But not anymore, because a 2021 vintage sauvignon blanc from winemakers Woodchester Valley, near Stroud, has won a 'Master' medal at the Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters awards.

Widely recognised as one of the most coveted prizes in the world of wine, the boutique vineyard beat more established rivals to win the £20-£30 bottle category of unoaked entries.

"I think it's the highlight since we started growing grapes," said company founder Fiona Shiner.

"When we tasted the juice from this particular harvest, the 2021, and as the wine was going through the fermentation process, we were quite excited about its potential but we were not expecting to receive a Master.

It's a reward for 15 years of hard work cultivating three sites in the Stroud Valley where, unlike other English vineyards, only grapes grown on-site produce the wine made there.

"We are a cool climate, so it is challenging to grow grapes in," Fiona added. "I think we've found our niche in what we can do well."

What began as a one-acre site in 2007 is now 57 acres strong filled with 83,000 vines producing an average of 100,000 bottles of white, red, rose, still and sparkling a year.

Woodchester's 50 tanks hold around 4,000 bottle of wine each Credit: ITV News

Winemaker Jeremy Mount quit a New Zealand vineyard to join the Stroud family-run business, so passionate is he about the growing English market.

"Coming back to England and seeing 2,000 sauvignon blanc vines being planted, I was a little sceptical on the grade or quantity I was going to be able to achieve," he admitted.

"But the site has created some small bunches, really nice ripeness and that enables me to transfer the good quality fruit into good quality wine."

Unsurprisingly, the winning wine is selling fast but they'll soon be a chance to taste the next batch Stroud has to offer. Last year's efforts will be bottling up in the Spring.