FRANCE is not short of sparkling wine – so impressing our Gallic neighbours by making your own tipple this side of the channel is far from easy.

But recognition is just what one Herefordshire farm has received at a wine competition held in France.

The Chinn family, near Ross-on-Wye, have been winning awards for their English sparkling wine since their 2006 vintage was released.

And this year has proved to be an even better one – when their Castle Brook Vineyard Classic Cuvee took a gold medal at the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships.

The recent recognition comes after the family won a silver medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards and a silver award and the Montagu Trophy for best presented wine in the English and Welsh Wine of the Year awards.

The wine bottles began to fill up in 2004 when the family, best known for growing Wye Valley Asparagus at Cobrey Farms in Coughton, near Walford, decided to plant vines on a field which was left vacant after they sold their cattle.

And John Chinn, who is a partner with his wife, Gay, and sons, Henry and Chris, said English sparkling wine is now being taken seriously.

He said: “Just the very fact you don't have to take our word for it, the fact is we won a gold medal in a French sparkling wine competition.

"We absolutely love it. Let's be honest – we are never going to make a fortune, but it is very satisfying to make a really good product."

Their sparkling wine is made from three Champagne grape varieties – Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunie and Chardonnay and are grown on a steep south-facing slope.

Their wine was previously known as Chinn Chinn but has recently been newly labelled as Castle Brook.

Mr Chinn said: "At first we thought it was rather fun. We are the Chinn family and the French always say Chin Chin. But we were a bit concerned. It was a good joke but it perhaps lacked the dignity of the quality of the wine we were making."

The Castle Brook name is derived from the farmhouse that sits at the bottom of the vineyard. The 2009 vintage has had a generous four and a half years of resting on its lees in secondary fermentation before disgorging in autumn 2014, and its release in early 2015.

This year's harvest was picked in mid October producing 10 tonnes of grapes which should produce 7,000 bottles.

Mr Chinn said it was a slightly disappointing year as pollination was not very good in May, and although June and July were fairly sunny, August was disappointing which meant the grapes took longer to ripen.

In 2012 the weather was so bad they didn't harvest anything but last year was more successful with 14 tonnes.

Once hand-picked they send the grapes to Ridgeview Estate in Sussex to be made into wine.

Mr Chinn said: “My view is that growing good grapes is a part of farming. And I am a farmer and I can grow grapes."

Most of their sparkling wine is sold through

It is also available at Truffles in Ross-on-Wye; Pengethley Farm Shop and Fingal-Rock in Monmouth.