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Steven Spurrier’s Dorset vineyard sold

Bride Valley Vineyard, the Dorset wine estate founded by the late wine expert and Judgement of Paris organiser Steven Spurrier in 2009, has been sold to local entrepreneurs Alasdair Warren and Mark Banham.

Spurrier, who shot to fame after the 1976 Judgement of Paris, moved to Dorset with his wife Bella Spurrier in 1987. He settled in the village of Litton Cheney, where he lived for the rest of his life.

It was almost two decades before Spurrier, a veteran of the wine trade, founded Bride Valley Vineyard, planting 44,000 vines of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier on his wife’s farm for the production of traditional method English sparkling wine. The estate’s first harvest was in 2011. Spurrier joked that the project was “the last throw of the Spurrier wine dice”.

In 2018, Bride Valley Vineyard released what was dubbed “England’s first crémant”, due it having a lower pressure of 4.5 bar, as opposed to 6 bar, which is typical for Champagne and English sparkling.

Spurrier died in 2021 at the age of 79.

A statement from Spurrier’s family, who were in possession of Bride Valley Vineyard, explained that as of today (15 September), the vineyard is under new ownership: “It’s been a huge honour for us to continue what he [Steven Spurrier] started and be part of a thriving English wine scene. We’re very proud of everything Steven achieved and so grateful to everyone who tasted, bought and supported our wines.”

“Now it’s time for someone else to continue the Bride Valley story,” it continued. “We’re confident that Alasdair [Warren] and Mark [Banham] will prove to be fantastic owners of this very special Dorset vineyard.”

Warren and Banham, the new owners, are business partners. Warren co-founded pub operator The Electric Pub Company, which acquired Dorchester-based wine merchant Morrish & Banham in 2020, according to local news outlet Dorset Echo. As part of the deal, Banham, the merchant’s co-founder, joined The Electric Pub Company as director.

The sum involved in the deal has not been disclosed.

English vineyards are hot property, with US wine giant Jackson Family Wines recently investing in Essex.

Dorset’s potential in particular as a wine producing region has also attracted none other than Blur bassist Alex James, who recently added a sparkling wine from the county to his Britpop drinks range.

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