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. 



Wednesday 16 July 2014

Here at White Castle Vineyard Summer has arrived and the weather has been kind so far. It's a busy time in the vineyard as we all know. Earlier Bud Burst has led to earlier flowering and as usual the robust Rondo are well and truly ahead with flowering, not far behind are Siegerrebe & Pinot Noir.

Row after row of lush vine leaf spans the vineyard.

The Cellar Door now boasts  new release Quality Welsh Wines, Gwin gwyn & Rosé

The seasons white is impressive and the Rosé is refreshing, delicious and always in demand


Our first release White Castle 2011 Sparkling Rose is sadly coming to an end however we will be releasing our 2012 Sparkling Rose at Lampeter Food Festival on 26th July 2014.