English organic wine pioneers honoured at German wine festival

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Roy Cook has been making organic wine for over 30 years

England's oldest organic vineyard has been awarded an unusual and fitting accolade. Organic pioneers Roy and Irma Cook have been invited to take their wines to be part of the “the longest wine bar in the world,” at the ‘Rheingauer Weinwoche’ (Rhinegau Wine Week) in Wiesbaden, Germany.

As guests of the German town, Sedlescombe Organic Vineyard will occupy a prime spot in front of the City Hall at the famous “wine bar,” which has for 35 years attracted thousands of visitors to over 100 vineyard stalls.

Roy Cook was teaching English in Karlsruhe when he came across a book dating from 1884 by a Dr Julius Nessler describing an unusual wine making method, which the good doctor claimed improved body and helped to mellow acidity in white wines.

Knowing that lack of body was one of the areas in which English wines were most often criticised, Roy decided to test and, if successful, adopt the method at his newly established organic vineyard at Sedlescombe in the South East of England. The technique involves a radical departure from conventional winemaking wisdom by adding 10-20% crushed de-stemmed grapes to the cuvée of pressed juice during fermentation of white wines: a practice unheard of in modern wineries where winemakers are, according to Cook, ‘too wary of creating excessive harsh tannins’, a fear which appears groundless when judged by his results using Nessler’s method.

“It is a great privilege and honour to be invited to this event.” says Roy. “Irma and I started in the wine business because we were inspired by the Rhineland wine festivals during our days in Karlsruhe in the early 1980's; to be going back to Germany as the primary stand holder at such a prestigious event as the Reingauer Weinwoche and being made guest of honour at the inaugural dinner, means our wine career really has gone full circle!”

Visit www.EnglishOrganicWine.co.uk where you can find out more and order Sedlescombe wines online

Roy and his German born wife Irma founded Sedlescombe Vineyard in 1979. More recently, Sedlescombe has become the first English vineyard to produce wines to biodynamic standards and qualify to display the Demeter symbol on its labels.

Follow Sedlescombe on Twitter.

Rheingauer Weinwoche runs from12th to 21st August.

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