A SMALL Worcestershire vineyard - one of the oldest in England and one of the most northerly in the world – has scored a hat trick of prestigious awards.

Astley Vineyard, on the banks of the River Severn 10 miles north of Worcester between Shrawley and Stourport, scooped a trio of honours in the recently announced Independent English Wine Awards (IEWA) 2018.

It gained a gold, silver and bronze from the judges in this year’s contest. The gold was awarded for its Vintage Sparkling Kerner 2014, made from grapes related to Riesling; a silver for its Bacchus 2016 and a bronze for its Old Vine Kerner 2015, a wine which was also included in the UK’S Best 100 Wines List in The Daily Mail last weekend.

The competition organisers said to have three wines awarded medals from a single, small producer was “remarkable”.

Astley Vineyard has been producing a range of single estate wines from its sheltered five-acre site in the lush Severn Valley for over 40 years, making it one of the oldest in the country. The owners describe it as a small boutique producer where quality takes precedence over quantity.

A delighted owner Tim Hayward said: “Astley Vineyard is blessed with great soil, a sheltered position in the Severn Valley and some vines that are over 40 years old.

“It is a privilege to caring for such a gem. We undoubtedly benefit hugely from the passion, hard work and vision of the two previous owners.”

The IEWAs are intended to advise the consumer as well as celebrate the work of the winemaker and the panel of carefully selected judges comprised a group of professionally diverse people and those with a high level of consumer insight. They know about wine and they know about people.

The judges consist of winemakers, Masters of Wine; sommeliers; buyers; merchants; journalists; educators and expert customers.

Apart from knowing the grape variety and the vintage, judging is done blind and carried out in panels of four people with wine tasted by category and assessed on its merits.

• Astley Vineyard was established in 1971 by the Bache family who were visionaries by planting grape varieties such as Bacchus decades before its potential was fully realised. Many of the original vines are still there providing great maturity.

• In 1993, Jonty Daniels and Janet Baldwin acquired the vineyard. English wines were yet to capture much of the English market but the couple put their life and soul into the estate - establishing its reputation for low yields and quality wines.

• The vineyard went from strength to strength, earning national and international awards throughout their 24 years.

• When Jonty retired, the five members of the Haywood family took over - determined to carry on putting love and passion into the little Worcestershire vineyard. They are currently building new visitor facilities and a winery. Their grapes are currently processed at Three Choirs Vineyard in Gloucestershire.