New ‘Vine of the times’ award celebrates the minority makers in a biased industry


Hannah Wilkins of Vineyards in Sherborne is championing change in the wine industry, creating a ‘blanc slate’ with an exciting wine competition.
‘We’ll be tasting wine from female vinters, particularly the smaller under- represented growers,’ says Sadie Wilkins

Like many industries, being a wino can be tough when you’re sipping your way through the archaic stigmas attached to a privileged, white, male- dominated arena. Yes, we’ve come a long way, but there’s still a distance to go.
Proud as we are to be awarded Best in the South West and fifth in the UK (out of over 800 independent wine shops), we were the only gals featured in this year’s top 10 indie wine merchants by Harpers Wine – and in 2022, it just doesn’t feel right.

Under-represented makers
So, we’re introducing our very own and very shiny indie wine tasting: Vine of the Times.
An annual wine tasting where a group of industry winos sit together and raise a glass to inclusivity by hosting a blind tasting competition.
Our new event will unearth little drinking gems from underrepresented makers – this year belongs to women in wine. Our vision is to highlight a different group of ‘minority makers’ each year, not just women, and try to level out the diversity – one bottle at a time. But back to now, and it’s all about the Sip-sterhood!

Made by women
For the inaugural awards we’re gathering wine from female winemakers across the globe for the tasting,
and have recruited an eclectic, independent panel of female judges, each bringing a real mix of experience from the wine industry. On the day, the judges will be provided with the grape variety, region, and RRP only for each bottle we try, in a bid to remove any misconceptions.
All wines will be celebrated in an awards brochure after the event and shared within the wino community, and the winning wines from each grape category will receive a special feature. We’re not giving out glittery trophies, we’re creating a noise instead, which is what Vine of the Times is about.
Real change doesn’t happen from silence.

Time to drink equal
The response we have received from winemakers and prospective judges has been nothing short of overwhelming, including some heavy weights, who are well-respected in our trade, giving up their time and
expertise to be part of our event – in Sherborne, here in rural Dorset. It’s incredible.
If you want to follow our journey and gain a behind the scenes scoop on our exciting event, please do sign up to our mailing list and check out our social media accounts. Vine of the Times takes place on 23rd May –
it’s time to drink equal.

Your monthly wine tip
For those who look forward to a recommendation each month, here’s a wine from one of our favourite winemakers – who just so happens to be young and female (which coincidentally is how we hope she gets introduced in the future: simply as a winemaker, without the female adjective).
From the heart of Burgundy, making waves with her delicious winemaking, let us introduce you to Marinette
Garnier of Maison Jaffelin. Her Côte de Beaune Villages is a true gem – it’s voluptuous, soft, approachable and completely over-delivers for a £25 bottle of wine

by Sadie Wilkins, Indie Wine Merchant: Vineyards of Sherborne


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