New East Anglian vineyard owners toast top regional accolade

PUBLISHED: 09:06 24 June 2017 | UPDATED: 09:06 24 June 2017

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


New East Anglian vineyard owners are over the moon after scooping a top regional trophy for one of their wines.

Ben & Hannah Witchell at Flint Vineyard, near Bungay. ©Simon Buck 2016Ben & Hannah Witchell at Flint Vineyard, near Bungay. ©Simon Buck 2016

Flint Vineyard, at Earsham, near Bungay, took the coveted East Anglian Wine of the Year 2017 title at the annual East Anglian Vineyards Association (EAVA) bash, which this year was hosted by Jane and Peter Moore at Toppesfield Vineyard in Halstead in north Essex.

Ben and Hannah Witchell’s Flint Vineyard Bacchus 2016 vied, along with a total of 52 entries, for the top spot, with wines tasted by a team of experts including Masters of Wine and International Wine & Spirit Competition judges.

The entries ranged from sparkling whites and rosés to reds and still whites from a variety of vintage years. All the wines were grown and produced in East Anglia.

Hannah said they were “over the moon” at the win.

The Witchells’ wine also scooped the new Macrae Bacchus Trophy, which was recently added to the award line-up in recognition of the growing prominence of the region’s Bacchus wines.

This follows the success for Winbirri Bacchus as the best single varietal wine in The World Decanter Awards.

EAVA chair Guy Howard, who runs Giffords Hall Vineyard, near Bury St Edmunds, with wife, Linda, announced that EAVA would shortly be producing an EAVA Bacchus regional quality marque for all East Anglian Bacchus wines that have been awarded a medal, in addition to their gold, silver and bronze awards.

Judge George Unwin said wines from the region had significantly increased in quality and consistency over the last four years.

Other trophies went to Wyken Vineyard for its Moonshine Sparkling 2014, New Hall Vineyard for its Barons Red and Tuffon Hall Vineyard retained the Rose Bowl for its Beatrice Pinot Noir Rosé 2015.

“We had a fantastic day,” said Pod Crowther, who co-founded Tuffon Hall Vineyard at Castle Hedingham, north Essex, with husband, Guy. “Our new vintage, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016, won Rosé of the Year. This is the second consecutive year we have won this award.” Daughter Beatrice collected the award with her father on Father’s Day.

“We also won a gold medal for our new vintage Bacchus 2016,” said Pod.

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