Our New Winery Three is Up and Running!

We are thrilled to share with you that our new Winery and cellars are now fully operational. This will take our sustainable underground cellar capacity to over One million bottles. We still have work to do on landscaping, for it to be ready in time for our official opening in 2020. We will be celebrating Ridgeview’s 25th Anniversary in 2020 so the timing couldn’t be better.

Enormous thanks for the financial support provided by the Rural Payments Agency, using funds jointly provided by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural development and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Thanks also go out to our amazing builders, Axio (Special Works) Ltd; BLB Surveyors, the Ridgeview Project team and Clydesdale Bank. We couldn’t have done this without you all.

As a thank you we will be placing a plaque on our new winery.

Ridgeview CEO’s Tamara Roberts Named Sussex Businessperson of the Year

This week, Ridgeview’s CEO Tamara Roberts was awarded ‘Sussex Business Person of the Year’ at a ceremony hosted by the Sussex Business Awards at the Grand Hotel in Brighton. Celebrating 31 years in 2019, the Sussex Business Awards are one of the most sought-after accolades in the region. Tamara was honoured to accept the award, particularly as the Sussex business scene is thriving and there are a lot of leaders that Tamara admires and respects.

“Hard work and bloody mindedness does pay off but only if you have the support of family, friends and a fantastic team” commented Tamara on receipt of the outstanding award.

This follows on from a roll of recent fantastic achievements including Tamara being announced as the new International Wine & Spirit Competition president for 2020. The appointment is a respected honour and Tamara is excited to be taking on this new role, particularly as the first English producer to do so:

‘It is an incredible honour to be selected for such a leading role in the International Wine Industry, not only to represent Ridgeview but also to highlight the growth & aspirations of our exciting English Wine Industry. 25 years ago, my father started Ridgeview with the vision and ambition that England could produce sparkling wines to compete with the very best in the world, changing the course of the English Wine Industry forever. This is a perfect opportunity to celebrate his legacy and the sparkling future that lies ahead for our industry’.

Tamara joined her family business Ridgeview as General Manager in 2004 and became CEO in 2014. She has overseen the growth of production in that time from 25k bottles per annum to 400k bottles, as well as overseeing the conception and construction of a brand new winery and cellar, which will allow production to double from 2020. As well as devoting herself to Ridgeview, Tamara is very well respected throughout the English Wine Industry and sits on the board of Wines of Great Britain and the Wine & Spirit Trade Association.
Ridgeview will be celebrating their 25th Anniversary in 2020 and over this quarter of a century they have built their reputation as a one of England’s leading sparkling wine producers which was illuminated on this prestigious International Wine stage in 2018 when they were crowned ‘International Winemaker of the Year’ in 2018.

Ridgeview’s CEO Tamara Roberts Announced as IWSC President 2020

On the special 50th anniversary of the annual International Wine & Spirit Competition Awards in London, Tamara Roberts, CEO of Ridgeview, was announced as the IWSC President for 2020. This is the first time that an English wine producer has been selected as the President, a testament to the rising global status of the English Wine Industry. The president is selected for their stature and reputation in the industry, acting as an embodiment of the competition’s key goal of recognising quality wines and spirits throughout the world. The ceremony was attended by Tamara’s family and colleagues and was indeed a huge cause for celebration.

The appointment is a respected honour and Tamara is excited to be taking on this new role, particularly as the first English producer to do so: ‘It is an incredible honour to be selected for such a leading role in the International Wine Industry, not only to represent Ridgeview but also to highlight the growth & aspirations of our exciting English Wine Industry. 25 years ago, my father started Ridgeview with the vision and ambition that England could produce sparkling wines to compete with the very best in the world, changing the course of the English Wine Industry forever. This is a perfect opportunity to celebrate his legacy and the sparkling future that lies ahead for our industry’.

Tamara joined her family business Ridgeview as General Manager in 2004 and became CEO in 2014. She has overseen the growth of production in that time from 25k bottles per annum to 400k bottles, as well as overseeing the conception and construction of a brand new winery and cellar, which will allow production to double from 2020. Tamara is a qualified chartered accountant and is responsible for the financial management of the business as well as setting and implementing the strategy across all other areas, from grape to glass. As well as devoting herself to Ridgeview, Tamara is very well respected throughout the English Wine Industry and sits on the board of Wines of Great Britain and the Wine & Spirit Trade Association.
In an interview with IWSC following the announcement, Tamara remarked on what could be expected from her upcoming presidency, in particular her desire to bring females in the industry further into the spotlight. She’ll also be highlighting the work involved with being part of the burgeoning English wine industry, particularly ‘the opportunities, the threats, the future, and where I feel our industry is going to move to – and perhaps bring in some of the global issues surrounding the world of wine in terms of sustainability and climate change, which is going to be so high on the agenda’.

Ridgeview will be celebrating their 25th Anniversary in 2020 and over this quarter of a century they have built their reputation as a one of England’s leading sparkling wine producers which was illuminated on this prestigious International Wine stage in 2018 when they were crowned ‘International Winemaker of the Year’ in 2018.

CEO & EA of The Year – MDHUB Awards

Ridgeview have taken double accolades in the MDHUB awards with Tamara Roberts awarded CEO of the Year and Esther Dawson PA of the Year. MDHUB is the premier peer to peer business growth network for Managing Directors in Southern England. Tamara has been an active member for 7 years and has valued the peer support of like-minded entrepreneurial leaders.

In the Judges’ comments on what it takes to be a CEO of the Year highlighted that it was Tamara’s “extraordinary resilience, tenacity, creativity, humanity and sheer bloody determination to make the business work was what made her shine.” They were impressed with Tamara’s recent accolades:

  • – Sussex Business Woman of the Year in 2015 at the Business Women in Excellence Awards
  • – International Business Women of the Year in 2017 at the Women in Excellence Awards
  • – In 2019 the 33rd most influential person in the wine industry Drinks Retailing Magazine
  • – 2nd in the Power List of the English Wine Industry in the Grocer Magazine
  • – On the Board of WSTA, Wines GB and Sussex University Business & Economics School
  • – And probably what she’s most proud of… Burgess Hill Rugby Club – Volunteer of the Year

On top of Ridgeview acclaimed as the current ‘International Winemakers of the Year’ and voted number 36 Vineyard in the World to visit.

Tamara commented “I am absolutely thrilled to be awarded this amongst my MDHUB peers, truly unexpected and I am so very thankful to the Hub for the support in getting Ridgeview where it is today.”

Esther Dawson joined Ridgeview as Tamara’s Executive Assistant in 2014. Tamara was so pleased for Esther’s tireless support to be recognised; “Esther is not just an amazing EA but has also managed our HR function and helped implement many changes in this area to increase employee engagement. Esther is an absolutely incredible person who thoroughly deserves this recognition and more”. Esther also has co-established the thriving Sussex PA Network, holding supportive networking events, sharing best practice and ideas.

We are incredibly proud of them both and fortunate to have such an inspiring leadership team at Ridgeview.

Harvest 2019

Simon Roberts – Ridgeview Winemaker & Matt Strugnell – Ridgeview Vineyard Manager

Off the back of the glorious 2018 growing season which delivered fantastic quality in both yield and volume, the bar had been set very high for the 2019 vintage. The season started very well with a relatively mild winter, followed by limited frost risk in Spring and normal timing for budburst. Early growing conditions were unsettled with swings between cool and hot spells of weather, but fortunately we were blessed with great flowering weather which resulted in excellent fruit set.  The remaining summer was again a mixed bag; cool wet spells followed by mini heatwaves. Canopy management and vigilance was needed as disease pressure was high. The ripening phase probably saw the most consistent period of good weather; lots of sunshine and warm temperatures right up until the end of September.

We were then faced with one of the wettest Octobers that we can recall in our 24 year history. The challenge then became co-ordinating picking dates to avoid the rain and making sure the grapes had time to dry out before pressing. We were fortunate that our experienced enabled us to get our Ridgeview grapes in between spells of the changeable weather. Our Pinots came in first with very large bunches and good to average yield, the Pinot Meunier being a particular highlight. The Chardonnay needed a little longer on the vine and came in lovely and clean with sugars and acidity a little lower than normal. Grapes from the various sites over the South East have been variable, the earlier ripening vineyards have done really well whereas those later ripening and higher altitude have struggling a little in the wet weather. 2019 was a year when we could say experience really mattered. Our cool climate can throw us challenges and this is a year where we can proudly say that our care and due diligence in the vineyard really paid off. We have had the result of good volumes of clean grapes with nice concentration of phenolic flavours.

Start of the Home Run

BY OUR RIDGEVIEW VINEYARD MANAGER MATT STRUGNELL

We were lucky the weather was kind to us for flowering which helps determine our crop size. This all happened towards the end of June and the bunches we now see are filling out with berries. August has been a bit hit and miss, so we have been working hard to keep the vine canopy neat and tidy; by tucking the shoots into foliage ‘catch’ wires, and by trimming the tops and sides.

Tidy vines make them look great, but it also plays an important role in helping our grapes ripen to a perfect condition. By keeping the canopy neat we are reducing shade and humidity which helps reduce the risk of fungal diseases. Also, the canopy is capturing as much sunshine as possible which is essential for ripening the crop.

Moving through August we have seen the start of another change, which is veraison. This is easy to spot on the Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier as the skins start to change colour from green, through pink to red. By the time they are harvested they will have turned almost black. This is not so obvious in Chardonnay, but they will start to turn from green to a golden colour and the berries start to have a more translucent appearance.

The end of veraison signals the start of ripening, and therefore we are on the home run before harvest begins. This certainly won’t be like 2018 which has been described as a once in a generation year, however it is looking incredibly promising though!

Ridgeview Celebrated on USA TV

Ridgeview’s place in the global wine scene was bolstered following American CBS Channel airing a story filmed onsite at the winery. The TV news piece celebrated Ridgeview’s global accolades as current ‘International Winemaker of the Year’ in the International Wine and Spirit Competition, and Number 36 in the Top 50 Vineyards in the World; the only English wine producer to feature in this global list.

On the back of Ridgeview’s International Award success, we were contacted by the leading USA broadcaster for a piece on the coveted CBS This Morning Saturday Program. The program is available to watch on CBS – a network that has almost 9 million primetime viewers.

Ridgeview’s strong international presence was elevated further this spring when Simon Roberts, Head Winemaker, travelled to the USA to fulfil a series of engagements. Simon presented on English sparkling wine at Google’s HQ before heading down to Los Angeles for Effervescence, the premier Champagne and sparkling wine event in America. From there Simon travelled, sampling Ridgeview with over twenty restaurants throughout California, Nashville and New York.

Ridgeview’s foray into the USA has resulted in the exciting new listing of Bloomsbury, Fitzrovia in Thomas Keller’s globally acclaimed three-star Michelin The French Laundry revered wine list – the only English wines to do so. Ridgeview were also recently awarded two Gold Medals in the coveted USA Texsom International Wine Awards the only English Winery to achieve Gold & Judges Selection for the Limited Edition Ridgeview Blanc de Blancs 2014.

Ridgeview is imported into the USA by Banville Wine Merchants https://www.banvillewine.com/

 

 

 

New Trophy Celebrating ‘Mike Roberts MBE’

Wines of Great Britain Annual Awards celebrate the successes of the flourishing UK Wine Industry. Ridgeview Bloomsbury NV was awarded a Gold Medal and Presidents Trophy for Best Classic Cuvee at this year’s ceremony. Members of the Ridgeview family attended the 2019 awards at the historic setting of Vintners Hall. For the first time, in honour of the memory of Mike Roberts who was the previous industry Chairman of English Wine Producers, Ridgeview sponsored a new trophy ‘Mike Roberts MBE Best Vintage Classic Cuvee’.

The new trophy honours the brand producing the best vintage classic blend, a style Mike championed from the very earliest Ridgeview vintages. It was tributed at the Wines GB Awards ceremony as ‘Celebrating Mike Roberts, Ridgeview’s Co-Founder and leading light in English sparkling wines’. Mike worked tirelessly and with passion to promote the industry as a whole. Peter Gladwin Vice Chair of Wines of Great Britain commented “The ‘Mike Roberts Trophy’ for the best Classic Cuvee sparkling might be a wonderful legacy that could be awarded for many years to come”.

Chris Roberts, Mike’s wife and co-founder or Ridgeview, attended the ceremony and was proud to award to the new trophy to Roebuck Estates for their 2014 Classic Cuvee.’. Chris commented that “The trophy is a wonderful tribute so closely associated Mikes belief that England could produce excellent sparkling wine, as good, if not better than others around the world”. On receiving the trophy James Mead from Roebuck Estates responded “We were beyond delighted to receive such a huge accolade in honour of Mike who was such an inspiration and iconic figure in the English wine industry”.

Mike’s son-in-law Simon Larder who also works in the family business and attended the ceremony remarked; “Being five years since we lost Mike it is an appropriate moment for his position in the industry to be remembered, recognised and rewarded. There have been huge changes in the industry which have only come about due to his initial energy and commitment to the sparkling wine cause in England. Others may win the ‘Mike Roberts Trophy’ but there’s only one King of Fizz.”

A further new accolade was announced – the first Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Chris Foss, recently retired Head of Wine Studies at Plumpton College, who founded the department 31 years ago. Ridgeview have worked closely with Chris Foss during his time at Plumpton. Chris has been instrumental to the training and education of the growing English Wine industry.

The 2019 competition was sponsored by two main partners – Waitrose & Partners, a long-standing champion of English and Welsh wines, Ridgeview are proud partners of Waitrose selling their Ridgeview Bloomsbury NV and helping produce Waitrose own label Leckford blend. The awards were also sponsored by Rankin Brothers & Sons, a leading manufacturer and supplier of bottle closures to the winemakers of England and Wales who Ridgeview work closely with.

What is Cellar Door?

BY OUR RETAIL AND EVENTS MANAGER, HANNAH SIMPSON-BANKS

A vineyard shop, tasting room, bottle shop or wine bar … at Ridgeview we hear all manner of phrases used when talking about our facilities. The term that resonates most strongly with us however is “Cellar Door”. The term “Cellar Door” quite simply comes from the history of wineries past, when wine samples were first offered for tasting from winery premises. Whilst the name has stuck, the setting of our informal samplings and tastings has come on since the early days of the Cellar Door – don’t expect to be tasting wines in a darkened underground room anymore!

At Ridgeview our Cellar Door has the benefit of being separate from, but with great views of, our winery and has a spectacular vista overlooking the vineyards and gorgeous South Downs beyond. Our cellar door is the place to come for a glimpse behind the scenes, to try our award-winning wines for yourself with complimentary tastings, meet our passionate team or learn more about our history and how we make our wines with our ever-popular wine tours.

One of the greatest benefits of a cellar door though, is the ability to “try before you buy”, offering you the opportunity to compare different grapes, blends and vintages, you can explore your personal preferences and discover new favourites. To get the most out of your tasting ask questions – there’s no such thing as a silly question and we love talking to our visitors about all things wine! The cellar door is more than just a place to experience wine though.

At Ridgeview we also curate a range of exclusive special events throughout the year designed to give our visitors another way to experience Ridgeview. From Yoga Brunches to Chef Pop-ups and even our own music festival, we aren’t afraid to break the mould of what might be considered a “traditional” vineyard and winery offering.

And to leave you with one piece of advice, next time you encounter a cellar door, don’t be afraid of simply turning up and saying “Hi, I’d like to taste some of your wines! How do tastings work here?” because after all that is what we’re here for.

Ridgeview crowned one of the World’s best Vineyards

Ridgeview was crowned one of the best vineyards in the world, when it was placed number 36 at the announcement ceremony of the World’s Best Vineyards Top 50 at the Banqueting House on Whitehall.

The World’s Best Vineyards Academy is the mechanism used to create The World’s Best Vineyards list. The Academy comprises nearly 500 leading wine aficionados, sommeliers, and luxury travel correspondents from across the globe. Each has been selected for their expert opinion of the international wine and wine tourism scene. The winners were selected from over 1,500 nominated wineries. Ridgeview was the only British vineyard to appear on the list of countries that spanned across 6 continents.

The Ridgeview team were delighted with this accolade CEO Tamara Roberts said:
“Incredible news for Ridgeview to be included in the top 50 vineyards in the world. The list features spectacular wineries from around the world and we are honoured to be listed alongside global wineries that we have long admired. It is fantastic for Ridgeview to be acknowledged not only for our wines but our beautiful setting amongst the South Downs of Sussex and the awards have placed an important spotlight on England as a global destination for wine tourism.”

Ridgeview were the only English Vineyard to be named in this prestigious list of 50 with global wineries such as Ruinart, Veuve Clicquot, d’Arenberg, Viña Santa Rita, Château Margaux, Opus One Winery, Penfolds, Craggy Range Winery and Zuccardi Valle de Uco at No. 1

Founder of World’s Best Vineyards, Andrew Reed said: “The World’s Best Vineyards to Visit not only highlights these amazing destinations but it also helps raise their profile amongst national and international tourists alike. In an age where the next generation is looking for extraordinary and authentic experiences, these wineries are simply a must-visit!”

For further information please contact Mardi Roberts, mardi@ridgeview.co.uk