Welsh Vine Trail


Sunday 10 December 2017

PRESS RELEASE                                                                        8th DECEMBER 2017



This weekend 9th & 10th December sees the launch of Wales first fortified wine – ‘1581’ - by award-winning Monmouthshire vineyard White Castle.

The result of four years of planning by White Castle’s owners Robb and Nicola Merchant, the new alcoholic drink is similar in style to Port.

The grapes are harvested and aged in the same way as Port and the result is a drink with an abv (alcohol by volume) of 19%.

Says Robb “Since we’ve had the vineyard it has always been a dream of ours to create a Welsh fortified wine. To make it you have to have a quality grape and were just waiting for the right harvest and volume to be able to do it.”

Adds Robb, who is also chairman of the Welsh Vineyards Association, “The quantity of grapes harvested in 2014 allowed us to put aside a 225-litre barrel of Regent wine with which to make our Welsh fortified wine. The result is drink that is light in texture, very fruity, and reflects what we do at White Castle.”

Available as a limited edition, a barrel has now been put away after each harvest and stored at the Three Choirs winery in Newent, which produces White Castle’s wines.

1581 joins White Castle’s range  of red, white, rose, and sparkling wine which since the vineyard’s first harvest in 2011 have reaped numerous national wine awards.

The new beverage has close links to the area’s heritage and takes its name - 1581 – from a grade II* listed Tudor barn at the vineyard, which is situated in the village of Llanvetherine near Abergavenny and Monmouth.

Its future once in doubt, Robb and Nicola worked with local building preservation charity - The Village Alive Trust, to save the building and with funding from Cadw and the Heritage Lottery Fund the Croft Barn has been restored.

The barn is now used for a variety of events including, open days and weddings, and for talks and courses about viticulture (the science of grapes and their culture).

Says Robb, “It is a wonderful building, and it is an integral part of our vineyard, so it was natural that we took the date of its construction for the name of our Welsh fortified wine. It has been an important building in the locality for centuries, and was featured by Lord Raglan in his book on ancient buildings in Monmouthshire.”

White Castle has been helped with  its ventures by Cywain – a project which supports the development of new markets for growth orientated businesses in the agri-food sector.

Says Robb, “Cywain have been with us since we began, they have helped us in a variety of ways including branding. It is very much a two-way relationship and they have been fantastic.”

Says Cywain Development Manager, Rolant Tomos, "It’s been a privilege to see how White Castle have developed and the business grown in recent years. Launching 1581 will be another great leap for the business as it expands its product offering.”


Welsh Wine Competition 2017

Tuesday 14 November 2017


The growing success of Wales as a wine producing country was celebrated at the Welsh
Vineyards Association’s (WVA) annual wine competition.

Held at Llanerch Vineyard at Hensol in the Vale of Glamorgan, the competition
saw over 50 wines entered by nine vineyards ranging from north to south

Split into five classes, 21 wines were awarded Bronze, doubling last year’s
achievement. Five gained Silver and this year, 3 wines were awarded Gold.  The best wine in each class also received a
trophy: Whjte - White Castle Vineyard’s ‘Siegerrebe  GOLD’; Rosé - Llaethliw Vineyard BRONZE; Red
– White Castle’s Rondo BRONZE; Sparkling – Tintern Parva Vineyard’s ‘Dathlu’
GOLD ; Sparkling Rosé -  Llanerch GOLD,  with the 'The Thomas Davies Memorial Trophy'
also being given to Llanerch Vineyard’s ‘Cariad Blush’ as overall Wine of the

The expert judging panel was comprised of Linda Johnson-Bell: wine
judge, author, and founder of The Wine and Climate Change Institute; Sue
Tolson: wine educator, judge and editor of the popular website, WineSofa.eu and
Dylan Rowlands: Welsh radio and TV personality, co-author and owner of the wine
merchant’s Gwin Dylanwad Wine.

The climax of the competition was the awards dinner, which was televised on S4C
and attended by the event’s sponsors and David Morris, the Welsh Government’s
Food and Drink representative.

WVA Chairman, Robb Merchant said: “Welsh wine-making has increased 70% over the
last decade as production soars to more than 100,000 bottles a year. The
interest in Welsh Wines is growing as the quality improves. The awards are
judged to international standards and those vineyards who have won awards can
very proud of their achievement. I would also like to thank the sponsors and
organising team who have worked hard to raise the profile of Welsh Wines.”

 2017 Award winners were as follows:


Llanerch, Cariad Dry   2013   

White Castle, Gwin Gwyn 2016     

Tintern Parva, Bacchanlia 2016         

Pant Du, Gwin gwyn    2016    

Llanerch, Cariad Dry White 2015       

Montgomery, Solaris 2016

Conwy, Pydew 2016

Sugarloaf, Calon Lan   2016

Lleathliw, White  2016

Tintern Parva, Afon Gwy 2015

Llanerch, Cariad Medium Dry 2013

Llanerch, Cariad Rosé  2015

Lleathliw, Rosé  2016

Tntern Parva, Bwthyn Rhosyn 2015

Lleathliw, Red 2015

Tntern Parva, Ty Coch 2016

Pant Du, Gwin Coch    2016

White Castle, Rondo   2015 

Conwy, Pefriog 2015

Tntern Parva, Dathliad Rosé  2010

Llanerch, Cariad  Blush 2014


Tintern Parva,  Baccus  2015

Conwy, Solaris 2016

Llanerch, Cariad Medium Dry 2016

Llanerch, Cariad White 2012  

Glyndwr Rose  2015


White Castle, Siegerrebe  2016

Tintern Parva, Dathliad 2013

Llanerch, Cariad Blush 2011


Welsh Wine Competition 2017

Sunday 22 October 2017
Trophies  WVA 2016


October 18, 2017

2017 WELSH WINE AWARDS – 7th November

with Lesley Griffiths AM, Cabinet Secretary for Environment
and Rural Affairs

Vale of Glamorgan – This year’s Welsh Vineyard
Association’s annual awards will again be held at Llanerch Vineyard in the Vale of Glamorgan, with Special
Guest, Lesley Griffiths AM, Cabinet Secretary for
Environment and Rural Affairs. The AM will be accompanied by Dorian Davies, the
new Food and Drink representative.

Welsh wine-making has increased 70
per cent over the past decade as production soars to more than 100,000 bottles
a year. (Welsh Wine is the Toast of Bordeaux, The Telegraph, May 2016).

 “The interest in Welsh
Wines is growing as the quality improves and production is set to double by
2020.” – Robb
Merchant, WVA Chairman.

The expert judging panel is
comprised of Linda Johnson-Bell, wine judge, author, and founder of The Wine and Climate Change Institute, Sue Tolson, wine
educator, judge and editor of the popular website, WineSofa.eu, and Dylan Rowlands, Welsh radio and
TV personality, co-author and owner of the award-winning wine merchant and bar,
Dylanwad. They will be tasting over
40 wines from 10 vineyards.

This year’s event will
have the added addition of a TRADE & PRESS tasting (14.00 – 16.00).

For more information about
the Awards, the TRADE & PRESS tasting or the Welsh Vineyards Association, please
contact Robb Merchant at 01873 821 443 or at info@whitecastlevineyard.com.

AGM 2017

Wednesday 12 April 2017

The Welsh Vineyard Association held their AGM 2017 at the home of Andrew & Fiona Mounsey they are planting a new vineyard on 4th May and will be known as Velfry Wines, Clare & Gilbert Viader were also welcomed in to the association as new members they have taken over the former Wernddu vineyard which will now be know as Pen-y-Clawdd Vineyard.

following the were presentations from Alice Lampard Agrisgop, Norma Barry Food and Drink Wales - Welsh Wine Ambassador & Susie Abson Welsh Government Food and Drink. 


Welsh wine becomes toast of the valleys

Tuesday 05 May 2015

Welsh wine becomes toast of the valleys

  • Pouring rose wine into glasses 
    1 of 2
    Parva Farm Vineyards produces about 3,000 bottles of wine a year Getty Images

Welsh wine has received the ultimate middle-class accolade: a place on the shelves of Marks & Spencer.

Parva Farm Vineyards near Monmouth is struggling to meet demand for the product of its two and a half acres of vines. M&S has bought 480 bottles of its 2013 vintage Bacchus white wine and Judith Dudley, the owner, said: “They have said they want more but they may have to wait for the 2014 to be ready.”

The vineyard produces about 3,000 bottles of wine a year including the white bacchus, red, rose and sparkling wines. It is the oldest of a dozen vineyards in south Wales which are winning awards around the world.

In 2012, Ancre Hill Vineyard’s 2008 vintage sparkling wine was voted the best in the world at the Bollicine del Mondo in Verona, Italy, beating more than 20 rivals to the prize.

When the Dudleys bought Parva Farm in 1996 they became the owners of what was then the only vineyard in Wales. It had been planted in 1979 but a lot of hard work was needed to repair years of neglect.

The south-facing vineyard overlooks the River Wye and the location has been compared by wine experts to the Mosel wine-growing region in Germany.

Mrs Dudley, 66, has just finished pruning the vines ready for the growing season. Being chosen by Marks & Spencer to be their first Welsh wine is an honour she had previously resisted.

She said: “Waitrose wanted to stock us but we were worried there would not be enough for our regular outlets.”

The bacchus retails for £13.95, of which £3.50 is VAT and duty. Parva Farm is on the Welsh wine trail which includes vineyards from Pembrokeshire in the south to Anglesey in the north.

Together they produce 100,000 bottles a year from at least 20 different varieties of grape.

The first commercial Welsh vineyard since the Middle Ages was planted at Castell Coch near Cardiff by the industrialist Lord Bute in 1875. Besides the shelves of M&S, Welsh wine is also served in the restaurant in the House of Lords.

A spokesman for Marks & Spencer said: “We hope it will demonstrate to customers the wide range of UK regions now producing top quality wines, and encourage them to explore the vineyards on their doorsteps.”


An opportunity for all

Sunday 03 May 2015

Vineyard & Vine Nutrition V

Course Date

23rd June 2015


White Castle Vineyard, Llanvetherine, Abergavenny. NP7 8RA.

About the course

The course will be run by Chris Cooper, Chris is responsible for writing the UKVA Pesticides Booklet [green book]

Attendees should come away informed how different soils can affect the growth of vines and therefore the importance of site & rootstock selection. Attendees should gain a working knowledge of macro & micro nutrients, and how these effect vine growth & development, problems associated with limited or excess nutrients plus a guide on how other factors impact on vine growth & berry development.

This course is open to all even those who have a vine in their garden.

Course Title: Vine Nutrition

The course will address the following points:

  • What are you aiming to achieve with your vineyard?

  • Soil types and the effect on rootstock & training

  • Nutrient usage by the vine/plants

  • Typical deficiency symptoms

  • Identifying and rectifying the problem

  • New Technologies

Course Costs

The all-in cost of the day is £65.60…per person.

Payment by Cheque, made payable to   Village alive Trust and sent to Robb Merchant, White Castle Vineyard, Llanvetherine Abergavenny NP7 8RA


10.00AM             Meet at White Castle  Vineyard, Llanvetherine Abergavenny NP7 8RA

10.30-12.45        In the vineyard, to look at location, soils, planting, training and care

12.45-13.30        lunch
(Please indicate if any vegetarian/dietary requirements)

13.30 -15.30       Vine Nutrition          

Around 15.30       Finish


White Castle Vineyard Harvest 2014

Thursday 23 October 2014



2014 Grape Harvest began on Saturday 4th October at White Castle vineyard.

Rain overnight prevented our early start, however by lunch time the sun shone and our first harvesting of 2014 began as always Rondo our first variety to harvest.

Row after row of lush vine leaf boasted sun kissed plump Rondo grapes, along with friends and family we carefully handpicked and pressed that same day.

And next morning our good friends and family and visitors to the vineyard on Saturday, came together and a grand day of harvesting began. Siegerrebe, Pinot Noir and Seyval Blanc were picked by lunchtime our "A" team did us proud. A huge Thank you to you all.

A well earned lunch followed along with our very own quality award winning Welsh Wines, great company, good food and wine made a successful days harvesting a lasting memory for all.

11 days after that we harvested our Phoenix & Regent, well supported by our family & good friends we did it again, I truly believe we have invested in a miracle that takes place every year....


"It's all about getting the plump sun kissed grapes into the press as soon as possible" Good quality grapes with good analysis.


Planning ahead we have our festive weekend at The Cellar Door on Saturday & Sunday 6th & 7th December 10 til 4pm Festive cheers and festive sparkle shall herald the release of our 2012 Sparkling White Wine and local artisan truffles made with our very own sparkling wine.

Our festive selection includes an array of handmade welsh cheeses and is sure to bring you plenty of festive cheer! and see you through the winter days in style.

A warm welcome is extended to all who visit.




Sunday 17 August 2014

WVA welcome their first associate member

Become a member of the Welsh Vineyard Association :

  • £20.00 per year payable for the 1st August
  • It allows you to post blogs that involve Welsh Wine on to the Wine Trail Wales website via the secretary  

  • Ancre Hill Estate are presently offering 10% Discount on all wine purchase’s

  • Jabajak is happy to offer a 10% reduction on B&B prices

  • Attend the yearly Welsh Wine competition (does not include the cost of lunch)

  • Receive the proposed quarterly News Letter

  • Attend the Summer meeting (does not include the cost of lunch) 15th July 2014