Written by Malcolm Triggs.
A dream trip to the wine regions of Chablis and Champagne is on offer for the winner of this October's National Fruit Show Bonanza Prize draw.
This year's fabulous first prize is being sponsored by leading building manufacturer Scorpion Engineering and Construction. Rob Kendall of Scorpion said the trip would offer
"a fantastic opportunity to learn more about wine-making in a beautiful area of France."
He said Scorpion had been supporting the National Fruit Show for 15 years and wanted to do something special in 2009.
The Bonanza Prize is guaranteed to go to a worthy winner, since draw tickets can not be bought but are given to those growers who have won three or more classes at the National Fruit Show at Detling, organised by the Marden Fruit Show Society.
"Scorpion builds and erects quality buildings, so it seemed appropriate that we should sponsor a prize that will be competed for by the some of the best fruit growers in the world," said Rob.
The six-day, all expenses paid trip for two people in June 2010 will give the winners a chance to see how the experts create some of the most famous wines in the world as well as savouring the glorious French countryside.
Scorpion's range of steel building is ideal for wine growers as well as for other agricultural uses. The company has erected buildings in the past for award-winning Nyetimber and the Gusbourne Estate Vineyard near Ashford as well as Bookers Vineyard at Haywards Heath, which now supplies wines to the Waitrose chain.
"Vineyard buildings are enjoyable and challenging and benefit from the expert approach that we have developed at Scorpion", said Rob. "There are a lot of issues to think about, including storage, temperature control, drainage and access."
Like last year's all-expenses paid trip to Costa Rica, which was sponsored by South East Farmer and won by Alan and Mary Smith of Loddington, near Maidstone, this year's trip will be a mixture of learning and relaxation put together by the experts at the Agricultural Travel Bureau. About 3,000 growers, traders and visitors attend the National Fruit Show each year, after which the produce is displayed at the Lakeside shopping centre. The Bonanza Prize draw will be made at the fruit show dinner at Leeds Castle on the Wednesday of the show week.