Susy Atkins, Dan Farrell-Wright, Oz Clarke OBE, Mike Best MW, Pip Vanham

English Wines Win In The Judgement of Exeter

Wickhams’ inaugural English Wine Extravaganza event in Exeter on Saturday 18th June was as exciting as it was enjoyable as wine lovers from all over the South West came together to kick-off English Wine Week in style. 

With a tasting hall brimming with England’s finest wine and spirit producers, masterclasses featuring renowned wine experts Oz Clarke OBE, Susy Atkins and Mike Best MW AND England beating the French in the “Judgement of Exeter” to end the day, it was an occasion to be savoured in every way. 

Wickhams’ founder Dan Farrell-Wright was thrilled. Dan says: “What an amazing start to English Wine Week! To see and feel the optimism and excitement surrounding the newest of New World wines was incredible. What we have achieved as a wine-making nation over the past generation is nothing short of remarkable and it was fantastic to have so many people at the event to celebrate that! We’re looking forward to next year already."

If any further proof was needed about the ascension of English Wine it came at the final event of the day: “The Judgement of Exeter”. A fun take on renowned wine expert Stephen Spurrier’s “Judgement of Paris” in 1976 where Californian wines dethroned the French, this event saw the panel of five experts blind taste English and French wines over three rounds in a masterclass theatre which was standing room only. 

Round 1 was a competition between fizzes. Paul Langier Champagne vs Breaky Bottom Cuvee David Pearson. The audience was evenly divided on which they preferred, but the panel was unanimous in selecting Breaky Bottom, the English Sparkling wine as the winner. Round 1 to England.

Round 2 was a showdown between English and French Chardonnay. Henners Native Grace Barrel Fermented Chardonnay from Sussex vs Nuiton Beaunoy Bourgogne Blanc from Burgundy. This was a whitewash with the audience and the panel all selecting the English Chardonnay! Round 2 to England.

The final round was the most difficult. The competition was Domaine du Prieure Savigny de Beaune from Burgundy vs Lyme Bay Pinot Noir from Devon. The panel spent a long time discussing the merits of each wine with no one willing to break cover on their choice first. It was a very tight competition and the final verdict gave a slight advantage from the panel and the audience to France. Round 3 to France but 2-1 overall to England. A glorious end to a glorious day.

If you missed this event, Wickhams’ will be at the National Geographic Food Festival in London on 16th and 17th July.

Shortlisted in two categories at the Decanter Retailer Awards 2021 and finalists for the International Wine Challenge (IWC) Merchant Awards UK 2022 ('Online Retailer of the Year' and 'Specialist Merchant of the Year England') Wickhams are proud to stock a wide range of English wines and spirits, as well as source the finest Estate bottled wines from around the world. They curate collections from the everyday to the classics so there is something to suit all tastes. They passionately believe in stocking wines, spirits and gift sets at a range of price points to ensure their products are accessible to all.  

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