Wine industry veteran Barbara Laithwaite has been made a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) as part of the 2023 King’s Birthday Honours List.  

Laithwaite, who is co-chairman of Laithwaites Wines and founder of Oxfordshire’s Wyfold, initially began her career in 1970 when joining her sister’s friend and now husband, Tony Laithwaite, in his start-up business, Bordeaux Direct.

Then, in 2003, she planted a hectare of vines in Wyfold Lane, South Oxfordshire, before launching Wyfold’s first commercial vintage in 2006.

Laithwaite has now been awarded in acknowledgement of her services to the English wine industry over the past five decades.

Speaking of the honour, Laithwaite said: “I opened the envelope from the Cabinet Office the evening I got back from the Vintage Festival.  I had to read it several times – but then a lot of Wyfold Vineyard and other wines had been consumed that day. 

“I discovered later that the application had been supported by other women in the wine industry and indeed within the company. This gave me great pleasure. I accepted it for them but also for everyone at Laithwaites.”