Founded in 1995 by Mike and Chris Roberts on the South Downs in England, Mike Roberts has been since been awarded an MBE for his services to the English wine industry. One of the first English wineries to explore making sparkling wine in the same style to champagne, Ridgeview has gone on to win numerous awards and gain international praise. A hugely popular name on the domestic market, Ridgeview is served by HRH The Queen as well as at 10 Downing Street.
Interview with Tom Surgey, Sales and Business Development Director, Ridgeview
Ridgeview is widely perceived as being one of the best sparkling wines to come out of England. How easy has it been to break into the international market?
Winning our first gold medal in the IWSC in 2002 was a key moment internationally, and when we won Decanter’s ‘Best Sparkling in the World’ trophy in 2011 export boomed. As a family business, we make a very limited amount of wine and focus purely on quality meaning we aren’t in a position to grow export massively. It’s about finding great partners like Onshore Cellars in a market and building strong relationships with customers to ensure every bottle is enjoyed to the maximum!
What is the biggest challenge that you face as an English sparkling wine producer?
The cool climate in the UK means that frost risk at the start of the growing season is a key challenge each year. We mitigate this risk by working hard in the vineyards between April and June. We light bougies (candles) throughout the vineyards to create hot air currents and help protect from frost. England has the perfect climate for sparkling wine, but certainly one that demands high levels of work by hand and dedication from the vineyard team.
How does it feel to be the official sparkling wine of 10 Downing Street and to be served by The Queen at state banquets?
We are exceptionally proud of our relationship with 10 Downing Street. It is fantastic to be recognised as one of the pioneers of the English sparkling wine industry. We have for a long-time been served by HRH and the Royal family and had the honour of being the official wine of the Diamond Jubilee. One of our proudest moments was when our Fitzrovia Rosé was served by HRH The Queen to President Obama when he visited the UK.