A Sussex vineyard has produced what is believed to be the first international award-winning English red wine.

Sedlescombe Vineyard beat off fierce competition from more than 50 other wines produced in regions all over the world, including Greece, Italy, Portugal, Sicily and Cotes du Rhone.

But it was the organic 2011 vintage Regent that was crowned the best red wine.

The organic vineyard also came away with a prize for its second entry, which was a 2010 vintage Premier Brut sparkling wine.

Roy Cook founded the vineyard in 1979 with his wife Irma and it is now England’s oldest and largest organic wine producer.

He said: “It is great that we have won the awards and it is particularly satisfying because we have been here since 1979 when we first planted vines.

“ W e have won national awards in the past but this is the first time that we have won an international award.

“To win two prizes as well, one for our red and one for our sparkling – I’m breathless.”

Of the 603 wines that were entered from 16 different countries, these were the only awardwinners that were produced in England.

Both wines were also among the medals in theUKVineyards Association Wine of the Year competition, which was held on June 16.

The Premier Brut took silver while the Regent received a highly commended award.

Mr Cook added: “I guess it’s all to do with the flavour of it. The red has got great body, particularly for cool climates.

“It’s got great complexity, great balance and the bouquet is very lovely as well.

“It’s got what I think you expect from a high quality wine from somewhere like Bordeaux.

“I think it’s also a wine that is more accessible to women as some don’t really like to have very strong red wines, but they do quite like to drink a red that’s not quite as strong.”

A bottle of the Regent red will set you back £29.50 and is available to buy from Sedlescombe Vineyard or online at englishorganicwine.co.uk