Court Garden Vineyard in Ditchling toasts sparkling success

Howard and Jenny Corney of Court Garden Winery. photo �Julia Claxton
Howard and Jenny Corney of Court Garden Winery. photo �Julia Claxton

COURT Garden Vineyard in Ditchling won two prestigious awards this month.

It picked up bronze at the South East Wine of the Year Awards and scooped first place in the Sparkling Wine category at the national ‘Designs on Wine’ competition, run by English wine promoters ukvine.

The Sussex vineyard won the awards for its Court Garden 2009 Vintage Classic Cuvée, fending off competition from esteemed vineyards and wineries in the region and achieving the highest competition result for a 2009 classic blend of sparkling wine.

“We are thrilled to receive these awards which reflect the superb quality of this sparkling wine both inside and out,” said Howard Corney, joint owner of Court Garden Vineyard.

“The label features pen and ink drawings by the acclaimed illustrator John Vernon Lord, including a beautiful drawing of our farmhouse at Court Garden in Ditchling, and was a collaborative effort between John, graphic designer Pieter May and myself.”

The 2012 South East Wine of the Year Awards, run by the South East Vineyard Association, saw 70 entries, a significant increase on recent years. The awards were judged by a panel of experts, including Marks and Spencer’s wine buyer Andy Howard, wine writer and co-founder of the International Wine Challenge Charles Metcalfe, senior buyer for Direct Wines Cat Lomax and Owen Elias, multi award-winning wine maker.

Sussex is home to more than 50 vineyards – more than any other county in Britain – largely due to its fantastic chalk hills, south facing slopes and well-drained soil.

The terrain and soil closely resembles the Champagne region of France and the area is increasingly being called the ‘South Downs Appellation’ by lovers of English sparkling wine.

Howard and Jenny Corney planted vines at Court Garden, an historic farm in the lea of the South Downs, in 2005. The first vintage was 2007 and was launched in 2009. This year will see the launch of the 2010 vintage, including four different cuvees which will feature labels similar to the ukvine award-winner.

According to Howard, their Classic Cuvée 2009 Vintage is fabulous paired with seafood and has excellent bubbles that continually fizz to the top in a steady stream. Find out more at