Heard it on the grapevine

Renishaw Hall awards: Kieron Atkinson
Renishaw Hall awards: Kieron Atkinson
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Home of the Sitwell family for generation, Renishaw Hall has played host to many a wine aficionado in its time.

But at the weekend, a whole horde of them descended on the stately home on the outskirts of Sheffield.

The hall, which has had its own vineyard since 1972 when Sir Reresby planted the first vines, was the setting for the Mercian Vineyards Association’s annual wine awards, and vineyards from across the region gathered to have their vintages judged by experts.

Renishaw’s winemaker Kieron Atkinson, an ex Army captain, missed out on an award for the estate’s Madeleine Angevine white 2011, but did win gold for a pink sparkling wine he helps Staffordshire’s Halfpenny Green Vineyard to produce. Halfpenny Green owner Clive Vickers and Kieron also won the Members’ Choice award for a white wine known as Yorkshire Lass, made from grapes grown at the Summerhouse Vineyard near Doncaster, plus a silver and a highly commended with Long Acre and Tom Hill whites.

“Hosting the contest was a good opportunity to share wine-growing experiences. The wins reflected the quality of the grapes grown in the north and midlands,” says Kieron, who will be leading Renishaw vineyard tours again from September 8 and is now pinning his hopes on a win for his Renishaw Hall sparkling wine at the next UK Vineyards Association awards.