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Portrait Ridgeview - Mardi Roberts

Mardi

1. Tesi: Mardi, you are the Sales & Marketing Manager of the Ridgeview Estate, a winery in England. Can you please tell me more about your wine business, what wine means to you, and the place wine holds in your life?

Mardi: The estate Ridgeview was founded in 1995 by my parents-in-law, Mike and Chris Roberts. They always loved sparkling wine, and their first idea was to settle down in France after they sold their computer business in the 1980s. They ended up staying in southern England because they were so attached to that area and they realized that they were just about 90 miles away from Champagne – another area they love. The climate in England is perfect for sparkling wine.
The name of our winery describes the location perfectly. It is in an area of the famous rolling hills of England, and the view is just phenomenal.  I met my husband when we both worked together at a winery in Australia. As an Australian at that time I had no clue that England could be a wine producing country, but as I found out it is a great wine producing country. We launched our first wine in 2000. That year we sold 20,000 bottles, and since then we have increased the production to 250,000 bottles a year.
We have a great Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. Our goal is to double production to half a million of bottles per year. We are a family-owned and a family-managed business. Overall, five members of the Roberts family work at the winery. At the moment we export to Australia, New York, Japan, Holland, and Denmark. 


2. Tesi: England is known for classic cars, good music, and good picnic events, but most people would be surprised to see a good sparkling wine coming from England. Where do you see England’s place in the family of wine producing countries?


Mardi: We have been one of the first in the country to produce sparkling wine, and I think it is fair to say that we have set a trend. The market for English sparkling wine is blossoming, and many wineries have gone into business since 2000. You are right though: England was not necessarily known for sparkling wine, which makes our wine very special. At our vineyard, we have many warm, summer days reaching over 30o C (86o F) with colder evenings, which gives the grapes a full fruit flavor. England will claim its place in the family of wine producing countries as a unique and special place that produces full-flavoured, rounded sparkling wines that stand out when compared to the massive productions of other wine regions.


3. Tesi: Please complete this sentence: A good sparkling wine is…


Mardi:  …, fine stream of bubbles, fresh fruit and biscuity aromas, well balanced between fruitfulness and acidity and a lingering palate that makes the wine memorable.


4. Tesi: Wine is often paired with good food. Which food would you pair with your wine?


Mardi: Many people think you can match a good sparkling wine only with a first course, but sparkling wine is varied and can be easily matched with a four course dinner. A Blanc de Blanc is a great match to all kinds of shellfish, while a Chardonnay always goes perfectly with smoked salmon. A course with red meat or duck can be matched nicely with a Pinot Noir dominanted wine. A Rosé goes well with strawberries or any other dessert.  There are many more possibilities, we have been enjoying working with some of our fantastic local chefs and those we visit on our export visits on creating wine dinners matched with sparkling wines from start to finish, varying the blends to match the food. I really would encourage everybody who is reading this interview to invite friends for a dinner party and match the courses with sparkling wine only. I promise it will be a new experience!


5. Tesi: What does good food mean to you?


Mardi: Good food means good memories! Memories of special evenings with friends and family. It can be a celebration, an event or just a normal dinner: When a friendly, welcoming, and homely atmosphere is paired with good, fresh, and pure food, it is one of these moments when I realize how much good food means to me! It could be at one of the best restaurants or at home, it is all about the company, quality and good times.

Biography Mardi:

Mardi was born in Wangaratta Australia. Growing up near the wine growing regions of Rutherglen in Victoria she had various part time jobs centered around vineyards. Mardi went to University at Lismore in Northern New South Wales to complete a Law Degree LLB. Whilst applying for various graduate Law positions, she went to work for a vintage at Brown Brothers Winery. It was at Brown Brothers, Mardi met Simon Roberts from Ridgeview who was over from England to get experience. They began a relationship and Mardi moved to the UK to work at Ridgeview. Ridgeview was established by Simon’s parents Mike and Christine Roberts in 1994 to make the highest quality sparkling wine on the South Downs of England.  Right from the start Mardi has been an integral part of developing the Ridgeview brand in her role as Sales & Marketing Manager. The first vintage of Ridgeview that went to market in the year 2000 was awarded English wine of the year, which they have since won four more times. Ridgeview have now gone on to win many global awards and accolades including best sparkling wine in the world, International Wine and Spirit Competition 2005 and Decanter World Wines 2010. Ridgeview sparkling wines have been served on many fantastic occasions such as the Queens Diamond Jubilee. Their sparkling wines are now exported around the globe and served in some of the world’s best restaurants. Simon and Mardi live near the winery on Shoreham Beach with their two boys aged 6 and 8. Simon and Mardi share day-to-day management of the Estate with Simon’s sister Tamara and her husband Simon, making Ridgeview very much a family affair.

Awards RIDGEVIEW:

  • Decanter World Wine Awards, Best Sparkling (incl Champagne) 2010
  • IWSC Best Bottle Fermented Sparkling Wine 2005 & 2011
  • IWC Best English Sparkling Wine 2012
  • IWSC Best English Producer - 2000, 2002, 2005, 2010 & 2011
  • Mondial du Rosé, Best International Sparkling Rosé, France 2007
  • UKVA Wine of the Year - 2000, 2002, 2009, 2010 & 2011
  • Egon Ronay Grand Prix in Gastronomy 2007
  • Waitrose Best Drinks Producer 2006  

Web:   www.ridgeview.co.uk

 

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