A FAMILY-RUN business has been named Winemaker of the Year.

Ridgeview, based at Ditchling Common, won the award at the International Wine and Spirit Competition 2018.

This is the first time in its 49-year history that an English producer has won.

CEO Tamara Roberts said: “It is difficult to comprehend the enormity of this award to Ridgeview and the family.

“Being the first English sparkling wine producer to win such a coveted trophy from the ‘Oscars’ of the wine world is a huge achievement.

“I love the IWSC for its uncompromising focus on quality which gives all producers a way of benchmarking their wines against the very best in the world.

“Being recognised as the International Winemaker of the Year shows just what can be done when quality is at the heart of everything you do.

“Our achievements will always be tinged with sadness that dad is no longer here with us.

“But we take great comfort that we are living his dream and that life really is for celebrating.”

Ridgeview was also named English Producer of Year and English Wine of the Year for its Marksman 2014, a collaboration with Marks and Spencer.

Second generation head winemaker Simon Roberts said: “We are truly honoured to be awarded this accolade.

“We have always held the IWSC with the highest regard.

“When we first started Ridgeview, it was our goal to win the best bottle fermented sparkling, which we did go on to win twice.

“To win Winemaker of the Year is amazing, especially humbling amongst previous winners who we hold with the greatest esteem.”

Ridgeview was founded in 1995 by the Roberts family and was one of the first wineries to be devoted to the production of English sparkling wine

Founder Mike Roberts was awarded an MBE for his services to English wine.

Ridgeview is now operated by the second generation of the Roberts family.

Its wines have been served at four Buckingham Palace state banquets and many prestigious restaurants.

They have been exported to 17 countries around the globe.

Tamara said: “This award has topped off a great year for Ridgeview with the 2018 vintage, the biggest and best ever harvest on record, which is due to be released in Ridgeview’s 25th anniversary celebration year in 2020.”