January 27th, 2017
Fifty years ago, almost to the day, the first official meeting took place of the trade association that was to become the UKVA. This meeting of the group of pioneering wine producers from England marked the start of what has become a truly remarkable wine story.
To celebrate the English and Welsh wine industry’s past achievements, current successes and an exciting future, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, President of the United Kingdom Vineyards Association (UKVA) this week hosted a reception at Clarence House attended by many industry founders and younger generation of winemakers, along with world-renowned wine commentators.
In his speech thanking Her Royal Highness for hosting the event, the outgoing Chairman of the UKVA, Sam Lindo, himself a second-generation winemaker from award-winning producer Camel Valley in Cornwall, said: “Those early pioneers, many of whom are here this evening, through their efforts and determination, created the foundations of our thriving and exciting industry today. I am sure they are pleased to see how far we have all come since those early days.”
Acknowledging the current and future winemakers, he added: “These are the wine producers that will further our reputation as a world-class wine producing country, developing our position internationally.”
The Duchess of Cornwall became President of the UKVA in 2011, since when she has visited many vineyards in England and Wales including Hambledon in Hampshire and Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey. Her connection with wine stems back to her own father, himself a wine merchant, and she has now been made a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Vintners, having been installed earlier yesterday.
English and Welsh wines have seen a meteoric rise in success on the national and international stage, driven principally by the sparkling wines that started to be produced in the 1990’s. The industry is now enjoying a sizeable growth in sales and recognition; being served at State occasions, toasted at Wimbledon and now the Boat Race.
Their reputation continues to be widely acknowledged by wine experts and commentators, several of whom attended the event at Clarence House including Hugh Johnson and Oz Clarke, along with wine columnist and personalities Matthew Jukes, Victoria Moore, Olly Smith and Masters of Wine Peter Richards and Susie Barrie.
“Yesterday was a great occasion that brought together notable names from the past, present and future, and we were thrilled to be able to thank Her Royal Highness in person for all her support, enthusiasm and goodwill as our President,” commented UKVA’s incoming Chairman, Peter Gladwin, owner of Nutbourne Vineyards.
He added: “We are certainly raising a glass to the next fifty years – there is plenty to look forward to.”
Photo above - L-R: Oz Clarke, Peter Gladwin (Chairman of UKVA), HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, Sam Lindo (outgoing Chairman of UKVA)