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Belgian sparkling wine beats champagne to win top award
A Belgian sparkling wine has surprised judges by beating a range of French champagnes to win a top award at a world wine competition in Brussels.
The 2014 Cuvée Prestige from Chant d'Éole in Guévy was named this year's "revelation" at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. It is the first time in the competition's 26-year history that a champagne has not won.
"It's a very surprising result," said contest director Thomas Costenoble. "We had to double-check the numbers and make sure the tasters hadn't made a mistake."
The 15-hectare Chant d'Éole estate was created in 2011. Today it has 130,000 vines, producing 80,000 bottles of wine a year.
Vineyard owner Hubert Ewbank said: "It's an honour and a privilege for us. We put so much energy and passion into our business. Receiving this recognition is exceptional.
"This award obviously upsets the world of wine. For Belgium, it's an exceptional moment. We were seen as amateurs, a small region making wine.
"Finally we have international recognition. I think for us and other Belgian vineyards, a page has turned."
German Mulet, the vineyard's Argentinian production manager, who was hired last year after working in Bordeaux, told RTBF: "I did not even know that Belgian wine existed before I arrived for my job interview."