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25th June 2021

Northamptonshire Winemakers Pick Up National Award!

A small, Northamptonshire family vineyard is marking its tenth anniversary in the best possible way this week, by raising a glass of its own award-winning fizz to celebrate picking up a top national accolade.

Stonyfield Wine, based at Blisworth, has won a gold medal and the Dudley Quirk Trophy for Best Sparkling Blend 2021 from WineGB, the UK body for grape growers and winemakers – an honour usually bestowed upon the country’s larger, southern vineyards.

After planting the first vines in 2011 on the south-facing slope of spoil left behind after the digging of the Grand Union canal and Blisworth tunnel in the late 18th Century, Stonyfield partner John Folliott Vaughan says they’re delighted to be recognised in this way just a decade later: “We’re flattered and frankly amazed to be both the first small and only Midlands-based vineyard to receive this national trophy and all the more so when you appreciate that the land on which the vines now flourish was once simply an old, stony field with no obvious use!” said John.

“There’s evidence of wine production in the county dating back to Roman times and while Northamptonshire may be better known these days for beer and gin, we’re thrilled to think that, even with our humble one acre, we’re helping to put the county firmly back on the winemaking map!” he added. 

The award celebrates the Best Sparkling Blend, a category for wines made using the traditional champagne method, but not restricted to classic champagne grapes. Stonyfield grows both Pinot Noir, a traditional champagne grape, and Seyval Blanc, a variety which thrives in England and, blended, they produce a wine with complexity, depth and quality.

Stonyfield has won numerous accolades in its short career, most recently picking up a Gold in the Artisan Local Drink of the Year category in the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2020/21.

The Dudley Quirk Trophy was presented at the vineyard during a small outdoor gathering as part of English Wine Week.

Stonyfield Wine

Stonyfield Wine is made with grapes from a very small family run vineyard - just one acre – in Blisworth, Northamptonshire. We make only English Sparkling Wine (using the traditional champagne method). The vineyard is managed by John and Prue Vaughan, and John’s sister Belinda.

The field has been in our family for generations. We planted in 2011 as a memorial for Belinda’s husband Mick who died in 2010, and who had for many years been encouraging us to plant a vineyard on the site. It has been a steep learning curve, but we love what we do and are always delighted by the positive feedback we regularly receive for our wines. We have won awards every year since we started, but winning this trophy is the pinnacle.

Our harvest is small: some years we produce only 500-600 bottles. We have just over 2,000 bottles of the 2017 Trophy winner.

We have a great site:

• it is on a south facing slope running down to the Grand Union Canal

• the soil is ironstone on Northamptonshire clay, much of it the spoil from digging the canal and Blisworth tunnel in the late C18th.


The vines flourish on this terroir and our grapes are consistently of a very high quality. We blend Pinot Noir (traditional champagne grape) with Seyval Blanc (grows very well in England). Together they produce a wine with complexity and depth and the quality that English Sparkling wine is becoming so well known for.

We have a great partnership with our wine-maker, Halfpenny Green (Bobbington, Staffordshire). We work very closely with them to design the wine we want each year, and they have over 40 years of experience growing vines and have developed a very professional winery, producing many award-winning wines

- we are hugely grateful to them for all the advice and support they have given us since we started.

Wine GB Awards

Wines of Great Britain Ltd (WineGB) is the national body for grape growers and winemakers. Its declared mission is “To advance the interests of all of our members by establishing Great Britain as a sustainable wine region of world renown, recognised and celebrated for the quality of its wines and visitor experiences.” Among its many functions, it organises English Wine Week (this year, from 19 to 27 June 2021) and the WineGB Awards, the leading awards for the UK wine industry, judged this year by an expert team led by Oz Clarke.

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