CORKS popped as Bolney Wine Estate triumphed in a blind tasting event, also winning a £50,000 order from Naked Wines.
More than 40 wines from across the UK were included - a bottle of the famous Moët and Chandon Champagne was sneaked in but won few votes.
The tasting was the second leg of Naked Wines’ $1m Zero to Hero Wine Awards, a consumer-powered competition launched earlier this year to discover the world’s most talented unknown winemakers.
Sam Linter, chief winemaker at Bolney Wine Estate, said: “We are delighted to have won the Naked Wines’ Zero to Hero Wine Award with our Sparkling Cuvée Rosé 2009 made from Pinot Noir grapes.
“It’s an innovative way of doing business, and gives lesser known producers a platform to shine based purely on talent.
“Plus, it’s secured us access to over 200,000 wine drinkers across the UK – which is a huge boost for Bolney Wine Estate.
“The highlight of running this business has been watching the wines grow into something very unique and special.
“And for me and the team, it’s great to see that we’ve created something so delicious after all of our hard work.”
Sam’s winning wine will be entered into the Zero to Hero Grand Final in November, competing against wines from France, Spain, Chile, Argentina and Australia, with a chance to win a $500,000 investment contract with the retailer.
Naked Wines is also recruiting hundreds of UK wine drinkers to sit on the judging panel and get paid to drink wine – with the chance to win an all-expenses-paid round-the-world trip to the six winning vineyards.
Rowan Gormley, Founder and CEO of Naked Wines, explained: “Our goal as a business is to reward genuine winemaking talent, not marketing budget, as there are thousands of top-drawer producers whose wines never make our shores because they don’t have the means to do so.
“Zero to Hero puts every winemaker who enters on a level playing field, as they’re judged by the juice inside the bottle alone, rather than the size of their wallet – and by hundreds of normal, everyday wine drinkers, rather than a handful of experts or critics.
“From everything we’ve learnt to date, consumer reviews are an incredibly powerful force and are worth ten times any marketing spiel or tasting note when it comes to picking out the gems.”
The winning Sparkling Cuvée Rosé 2009 is available to pre-order at www.nakedwines.com/marketplace for £21.14 a bottle (RRP £24.99).
Consumers can apply to be a judge for future Zero to Hero events at www.facebook.com/nakedwines - and interested winemakers from Chile, Spain, Argentina and Australia can email email@example.com to find out how to take part.