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 Competition 2016

Thursday 13 October 2016
Trophies  WVA 2016


Thegrowing success of Wales as a wine producing country was celebrated at theWelsh Vineyards Association’s (WVA) annual wine competition.

Held atLlanerch Vineyard at Hensol in the Vale of Glamorgan, the competition saw 42 wines  entered by nine vineyards ranging
from north to south Wales. 

Split into five classes ten Bronze and five Silver awards were made, with the best wine in each class also receiving a trophy. Kerry Vale Solaris 2014 was named as overall Wine of the Competition and received the 'The Thomas Davies Memorial Trophy'.

The expert judging panel were: Linda Johnson-Bell wine critic, author and climate change analyst; Michael Harrison international wine judge and Bibendum Fine Wine manager; and David Cowderoy winemaker and owner of Bevtec.

This year saw a change in format with the WVA’s first trade and press wine tasting session, giving them an opportunity to meet some of individual vineyard owners and taste their wines.

The climax of the competition was the awards dinner – which was televised on S4C - and attended by the event’s sponsors and representatives from the Welsh Government’s Food Division.

Said WVA Chairman, Robb Merchant, “The interest in Welsh Wines is growing as the quality improves, presently Welsh vineyards produce around a 100,000 bottles a year and this is set to double by 2020. The awards this year have been 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 work hard to raise the profile of Welsh Wines.”

The award winners were as follows:




White Castle Gwin Gwyn 2015

Llaethliw White 2015

Conwy Solaris 2015

Tintern Parva Afon Gwyn 2014


Tintern Parva Bacchus 2014

Kerry Vale Solaris 2014  ( winner of the Halfpenny Green Salver)



Conwy Rosé 2015

Llaethliw Rosé 2015


Tintern Parva Bwthyn Rhosyn 2015   ( winner of the Three Choirs Salver)



Kerry Vale Red Kite 2014

Conwy Rondo 2014

White Castle Rondo 2014


White Castle Pinot Noir Précoce 2014   (winner of the Three Choirs Salver)




Ancre Hill Blanc de Blancs 2009


Tintern Parva Dathliad 2013   (winner of the Smarts Salver)


Kerry Vale Solaris 2014   (winner of 'The Thomas Davies Memorial Trophy')




Monday 27 June 2016
White Castle Regent 2014

At White Castle vineyard the year has gathered pace.

April saw Robb Merchant elected as chairman of the Welsh vineyards association.

May saw the profile of Wine Trail Wales & Welsh wine producers raised as we showcased Welsh wines at the Celtic Manor Resort Newport.

Welsh wine week yet again proved a great success with our renowned Welsh cheeses & Welsh wine pairing, we also had the opening of our kitchen facility at the cellar door, June We were delighted to  export our 2014 Gwin Gwyn (white wine) to a wine centre in Bordeaux, France. We also had the opportunity as part of the Welsh PFN Group (protected food names) to showcase our quality Welsh wines at Fortnum & Mason, London.

For those who joined us mid-June we held a successful viticulture day discussing pests & diseases in the vineyard with Chris Cooper.

For the first time the English & Welsh wine of the year competition 2016 was hosted in Wales.

As a Welsh vineyard we welcomed all participating vineyards to Wales.

Robb had his first experience behind the organisation of EWOTTY and very interesting was his reply. As the host country he was supported by fellow vineyard owners and the Welsh government and gave his appreciation to Llanerch vineyard for being such good hosts and the success it was. Diolch ny fawr

Thank you

We are delighted that our Regent 2014 was awarded a Bronze medal at this years EWWOTY.


English and Welsh Wine of The Year 2016

Monday 27 June 2016
Judging deciding on the top Welsh wine


27th June 2016




The industry's annual national wine awards - The English & Welsh Wine of the Year Competition – have delivered some of the best ever numbers of medals.


Despite the marginally lower number of entrants compared to last year – reflecting the slightly lower production in 2015 – the number of Gold medals was nearly 60% up and the highest over the last 5 years of the competition.  Nonetheless, the competition has seen a progressive growth in entrants over the years, this year attracting 305 wines from 94 producers from across England and Wales.


258 medals were awarded across the style categories, representing nearly 85% of all entries, which included 32 Gold, 121 Silver and 105 Bronze medals.  Overall, still wines dominated the entries and medal gains, with 216 still white, rosé and red wines entered, gaining just over 70% of all the medals.  87 sparkling wines were entered, representing just under 30% of the medals.


Organised and run by the United Kingdom Vineyards Association (UKVA) and for a second year sponsored by Waitrose, the Competition is an opportunity for producers of all sizes and from across England and Wales to compete against each other.  This year’s entrants included some of the UK’s largest producers to smaller and first-time producers. The wines were judged over two days at Llanerch Vineyard near Cardiff by a team of five Masters of Wine and marked to international professional standards.  Chaired by David Bird MW, the panel also comprised: Robin Crameri MW, Rebecca Hull MW, Angela Muir MW and Patricia Stefanowicz MW.


The Gold medals alone reflected the diversity of size and style now produced in England as well as a wide geographic spread.  Successes this year included a still white from one of England’s most northerly vineyards, Leventhorpe Vineyard, and a sparkling wine from a one acre vineyard in Hampshire – East Meon Vineyard. 


The different style categories of wines and volumes produced are acknowledged in the13 Trophies that are also awarded.


Once again it is wines produced from the UK’s top three most widely planted grape varieties – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Bacchus – that dominated the trophies awarded, with Bacchus a clear winner. Three trophies were awarded to a 2015 Bacchus from Norfolk’s Winbirri Vineyard, which scooped the Trophy for Most Outstanding Large Production Wine from 2015 vintage, Most Outstanding Single Variety Wine and Most Outstanding Unchaptalised Wine.


Further Bacchus success was won by Furleigh Estate in Dorset whose 2014 Bacchus Fumé won Most Outstanding Oaked White Wine and Most Outstanding Large Production Wine (Any year other than 2015).  Additionally, Camel Valley Bacchus Dry 2015 won the Most Outstanding Large Production Wine (over 10,000 litres).


The Most Outstanding Sparkling Wine Trophy was won by Dorset sparkling wine producer Langham Wine Estate, further continuing its competition success, having won the same trophy last year with another wine from its stable.   The Most Outstanding Sparkling Rosé Wine Trophy was won by Hattingley Valley in Hampshire.  Both wines are produced with the three traditional Champagne varieties.


Pinot Noir was also a proven winner in the still wine stakes, with Kent’s Gusbourne Estate Pinot Noir 2014 taking the Most Outstanding Red Wine, with the Most Outstanding Still Rosé Wine trophy going to first time producer Oxney Organic Estate from Sussex


Sweet wines also have their own trophy - Most Outstanding Sweet Wine – which this year was won by Denbies Wine Estate Noble Harvest 2014, continuing the outstanding success of earlier vintages of this wine in a number of competitions.


A Best Presented Trophy is awarded to a bottle for its overall presentation – this year the winner is Fenny Castle Barrel Fermented Ortega 2015.


This year, to mark the competition judging having taken place in Wales, a Welsh Wine of the Year Trophy has been sponsored by the Welsh Government.  The winner of this award is Parva Farm Vineyard Dathliad 2013, a sparkling wine from Tintern in South Wales.



David Bird MW, Chair of Judges, and a long standing member of the judging team, commented on how impressed he was by the standard of entries.  This year the competition went very smoothly, despite the large number of wines. The team of judges worked extremely well.  They all taste internationally and apply international standards.

“The high level of medals achieved is a measure of the high standard that winemaking in the UK has reached. The joy of the competition this year is that we were struggling not to award golds everywhere!”


Commenting on the competition, Barry Lewis, CEO of UKVA said: This year’s high number of entrants into the competition reflects a growing confidence within the industry. I'm delighted with the results and pleased that the judges noted the overall consistency of quality. I'd like to thank the Welsh Vineyard Association and Llanerch Vineyard, for being amazing hosts.”


There are three remaining trophies yet to be unveiled and will be announced at the industry’s annual awards lunch, taking place on 12th July at Vintners’ Hall: the prestigious Winemaker of the Year (The McAlpine Trophy) and the Wine of the Year Trophy (The Gore-Browne Trophy) together with the English Wine Producers Communicator of the Year Trophy


The results in full will shortly be available on www.englishwineproducers.com and www.ukva.org.uk.





Notes to Editors:

The English & Welsh Wine of the Year Competition is organised by the United Kingdom Vineyards Association, and this year took place at Llanerch Vineyard, hosted by the Welsh Vineyards Association.  Each year the competition is hosted by a different vineyard region of the UK.


The English & Welsh Wine of the Year Competition is the only competition in the world judged entirely and only ever by Masters of Wine, bringing with them their wealth of experience, expertise and tasting to international standards. 


The EWP Communicator of the Year Trophy recognises the contribution to the UK wine industry that is made by so many and is presented to an individual or business outside the wine industry that has, through their work, raised awareness in the industry and its wines. Nominations for this award are submitted by members of the industry and the winner is selected by a panel of English Wine Producers member producers


Interviews with the organisers or the Chairman of Judges can be arranged. Please contact Jo Cowderoy, United Kingdom Vineyards Association, tel: 07904 011331 or email jo@ukva.org.uk, or Julia Trustram Eve, English Wine Producers, tel: 01536 772264 or email julia@englishwineproducers.com


A copy of the full results can be emailed – please contact julia@englishwineproducers.com



The following trophies were awarded:


Jack Ward Memorial Salver - The most outstanding large production wine – 2015 vintage

Winbirri Bacchus 2015


Wine Guild Trophy - The most outstanding large production wine – any other year

Furleigh Bacchus Fumé 2014


President's Trophy - The most outstanding small production wine (<1500 litres)

Langham Wine Estate Classic Cuvée Reserve 2011


Dudley Quirk Memorial Trophy - The most outstanding large production wine (>10,000 litres)

Camel Valley Bacchus Dry 2015


Vintners’ Trophy - The most outstanding sparkling wine

Langham Wine Estate Classic Cuvée Reserve 2011


Bernard Theobald Trophy - The most outstanding red wine

Gusbourne Pinot Noir 2014


McNie Trophy - The most outstanding oaked white wine

Furleigh Bacchus Fumé 2014


Tom Day Trophy - The most outstanding single varietal wine

Winbirri Bacchus 2015


Waitrose Rosé Trophy - The most outstanding still rosé wine

Oxney Organic Estate English Pinot Noir Rosé 2015


Bob Lindo Trophy - The most outstanding sparkling rosé wine

Hattingley Valley Rosé 2013


Berwick Trophy - The most outstanding large production unchaptalised still wine

Winbirri Bacchus 2015


Stefanowicz Trophy – The most outstanding sweet wine

Denbies Noble Harvest 2014


Welsh Wine of the Year Trophy The most outstanding Welsh Wine

Parva Farm Vineyard Dathliad 2013


Montagu Trophy - Best presented wine

Fenny Castle Barrel Fermented Ortega 2015



Wine & Cheese pairing

Monday 09 May 2016

Saturday 28th May 2016 @ 6.30 pm at the vineyard

Let's Celebrate Welsh Wine Week 2016 with "A Cheese & Wine Pairing"

Five White Castle Vineyard Wines paired with Five Welsh cheeses.

Wine & Cheese are two of life's great culinary pleasures and finding the perfect 
match can be a delicious endeavour... 
Perfect evening for those with a love and passion for wine.

Cost: £18.50 per person.   Booking advisable.

Contact the vineyard direct on info@whitecastlevineyard.com or tel: 01873 821443


Welsh wine week at White Castle Vineyard

Monday 09 May 2016

With Welsh wine week on the horizon its full steam ahead to tie up the exciting new project and facility soon to be available at White Castle Vineyard.

Robb and Nicola have decided to extend their hospitality at the vineyard with Welsh cheese platters served Friday to Sunday and bank holidays.

Welsh wine week is perfect to experience a Welsh vineyard and award winning Welsh wine and of course a Welsh cheese platter. During Welsh wine week the vineyard will be open daily from Sat 28th May - Sunday 5th June 10 till 5

All Events are listed on www.whitecastlevineyard.com & Wineandheritage.org.uk

For those people who are unable to visit the vineyard there is an opportunity to taste White Castle Welsh wines at The Crafty Devil Cellar Bar, Llandaff Rd Cardiff, take this opportunity to meet the passionate people behind the vineyard as they celebrate Welsh wine week in the Welsh capital.


White Castle vineyard has a fine array of award winning Welsh wine and the latest new release is vintage 2014 Pinot Noir Précoce, it gives a fabulous complex bouquet of dark red berries with layers of mineral nuances. Juicy lush generous and complex on the palate with generous oak and ripe, fine tannins.

Perfect with Welsh lamb, beef and venison.

Vintage 2014 Gwin gwyn ( white wine) is a dry delicate white wine with floral aromas of elderflower and ripe citrus fruits on the palate.

Perfect with Cheese, pasta, chicken and fish.

A warm welcome awaits new and returning visitors to White Castle vineyard.


Welsh Vineyard Association 2016

Friday 29 April 2016

The Welsh Vineyard Association held their 2016 AGM at Gwinllan Conwy owned by Colin & Charlotte Bennett. This was the first visit to North Wales for the WVA and attendance was good with 8 vineyards being represented also attending was the recently appointed UKVA CEO Barry Lewis who spoke about his new role the challenges he faces and the work that is presently being undertaken to improve and build the profile of the UKVA, Welsh & English wines. 

Richard Morris of Ancre Hill Vineyard stepped down from the role as chairman of the WVA following his 3 year term of office, the newly elected chairman is Robb Merchant of White Castle Vineyard. Richard was thanked for the work he has done over the past 3 years, he will continue to be a key member of the committee. Colin Bennett of Gwinllan Conwy will take up the role of Secretary.

As the year moves forward June will see the  WVA hosting the English & Welsh wine of the Year competition  2016, then in September they will hold the Welsh Wine competition both events being held at Llanerch Vineyard. 




Monday 11 April 2016

Mid Season Vineyard Skills: Vineyard Pest and Diseases.

Tuesday 21 June 2016.  09.30 – 16.00hr
Tutor: Chris Cooper. Location: Croft Barn. White Castle Vineyard. Llanvetherine, Abergavenny. NP7 8RA

£70 per person, light lunch included – Booking essential  www.wineandheritage.org.uk



Monday 11 April 2016
welsh wine week

A key date for your diary  Welsh Vineyards will be celebrating Welsh Wines for the week commencing 28th May - 5th June 2016


Welsh Vineyard Association wine competition 2015

Wednesday 23 September 2015

The Welsh vineyard association held their 2015 competition on Monday 21st September, Jabajak  Vineyard & Restaurant with rooms  were the kind hosts for the day. the Wines were judged by Roger Jones  The  Harrow at Little Bedwyn, Deiniol Ap Dafydd from Blas ar Fwyd and Neil Cammies wine and food writer for the Western Mail

There were 41 wines entered into three categories, the award winning wines are listed below.

Class 1- Still White and Still Rose

Llanerch Cariad Medium Dry White 2013 GOLD

Tintern Parva Bacchus 2013 GOLD

Ancre Hill Chardonnay 2013 GOLD

Lliathllew Orian / Regent Rose 2014 HIGH SILVER

Llanerch Cariad Dry White 2013 SILVER  

Jabajak, The Whitehouse 2014   SILVER

White Castle Rose 2013 SILVER

Ancre Hill Rose 2013 SILVER

Pant Du Gwyn Rhosliw 2012 SILVER

Tintern Parva Bwthyn Rose 2013 SILVER

Tintern Parva Afon Gwy 2013 HIGH BRONZE  

Lliathllew Solaris White 2014 BRONZE  

White Castle Gwin Gwyn 2013 BRONZE 

Tintern Parva Bacchus 2014 BRONZE

Pant Du Gwin Gwyn 2014   BRONZE

Sugarloaf Blush 2014 BRONZE

Whitecastle Gwin Gwyn 2014   COMMENDED 

Tintern Parva Afon Gwy 2014   COMMENDED


Class 2- Red Wine

Ancre Hill Pinot Noir 2013 SILVER 

Pant Du Gwin Coch 2014  BRONZE

Kerryvale Red Denarii 2013  BRONZE


Class 3- Sparkling White and Sparkling Rose

Ancre Hill Barrel Fermented 2009   GOLD

Ancre Hill Pinot Noir/ Seyval Blanc 2008 HIGH SILVER

Tintern Parva Diathliad 2013 SILVER

Llanerch Cariad Sparkling Brut 2012 SILVER

Tintern Parva Diathliad Rose 2013   BRONZE  


Reasons to be cheerful

Monday 25 May 2015

Rhesymau dros fod yn llawen*

THREE WELSH VINEYARDS have something special to celebrate in the run up to this year's Welsh Wine Week - Sat. 23rd May until Sun. 31st. May. The results of the International Wine Challenge competition 2015 have been announced and commended awards were given to Ancre Hill Estates (Monmouth) Blanc de Noirs 2010 sparkling, White Castle Vineyard’s (Llanvetherine) Regent 2013 red & Parva Farm Vineyard's (Tintern) Bwthyn Rhosyn 2013 rose & Bacchus 2013 dry white thus proving that excellent wines of all types can be produced in Wales.

Vineyards are flourishing in Wales. From Monmouthshire to Glamorgan in the South and Anglesey to Gwynedd in the North, more and more acres of vines are being planted.

One such new planting is that of Charlotte and Colin Bennett who, in 2012, planted a quarter of an acre of vines on the south side of Pydew Mountain, overlooking the Conwy Valley with the stunning backdrop of the Snowdonia National Park. This year they have extended the vineyard by an acre. They enlisted the help of volunteers (with the promise of food and wine at the end), to plant several hundred Rondo, Phoenix and Solaris vines on Bank Holiday Monday! The job was done & the workers rewarded! They have plans for more plantings next year.

During Welsh Wine Week, Charlotte and Colin will be showing visitors their vineyard & explaining their plans for the future.  

As well as being successful in competitions, Welsh wines are now being served in the House of Lords and in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in London (White Castle's Phoenix). Parva Farm Vineyard made the news recently when their Tintern Parva Bacchus 2013 became the first ever Welsh wine to be sold in Marks & Spencers. It can be found in all their Welsh stores and in some of the English ones too. A M&S spokesperson said: “We hope it will demonstrate to customers the wide range of U.K. regions now producing top quality wines”.

One of only two bio-dynamic vineyards in Britain, Ancre Hill Estates at Rockfield, Monmouth will be celebrating the opening of their new winery in July, ready for this year's harvest. This will be Wales' first large scale winery and has been built to be ecologically friendly with hay-bale walls and a sedum roof. Ancre Hill specialise in sparkling wines with large plantings of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.

Ancre Hill Estates at Monmouth will be open every day during Welsh Wine Week from 10.30am until 4.30pm. They will be giving vineyard tours (with a viewing of their state of the art, new winery) at 11.30am and 3.00pm. Free wine tastings will be available & it will be the official launch of their 2013 wines.

White Castle Vineyard is holding some special events for Welsh Wine Week:-

• Sat. 23rd May “Wonderful Welsh Wine Adventure” organised by www.foodadventure.co.uk

• Wed. 27th May White Castle wines paired with Welsh cheeses- start 19.00-contact the vineyard for details. info@whitecastlevineyard.com

• Sat. 30th May Tasting of White Castle wines at Carpaninis, Frogmore St., Abergavenny 12.00-14.00

During Welsh Wine Week, Parva Farm Vineyard at Tintern, near Chepstow will be offering free self-guided vineyard tours, free wine tastings & the chance to speak to the owners about growing vines in Wales. There will be special offers on some of their wines. They will be open every day from 11.30am until 5.00pm. 

Most of the Welsh Vineyards Association member vineyards will be open to the public during Welsh Wine Week to promote their Welsh wines. For details see the website www.winetrailwales.co.uk

*Reasons to be cheerful

The second issue of ukvine magazine sees Victor Keegan's adventures in Welsh Wine. Out July 1.



Thursday 21 May 2015

We are open every day from 10.30am to 4.30pm. during Welsh Wine Week.


Vineyard tours take place twice daily at 11.30am and 3.00pm and this is an opportunity

to tour Ancre Hill's new state of the art Winery - one of the World's unique wineries built from straw bales.


Welsh Wine Week is also the official launch of Ancre Hill Estates' 2013 still wines - two stunning reds, a Pinot Noir and Triomphe,

a delicious Burgundy style Chardonnay and a refreshing Rose.  During Welsh Wine Week we are offering free wine tastings and a

10% discount on a mixed case of wine


We also offer Welsh Cheese Platter lunches served with a glass of Estate wine between 12pm & 2pm.


A visit to our award winning biodynamic Vineyard is a must during Welsh Wine Week!


Ancre Hill Vineyard, Rockfield Road, Monmouth NP25 5HS

www.ancrehillestates.co.uk | 01600 714152"


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


Let's Celebrate Welsh Wine Week 2015

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Let's Celebrate Welsh Wine Week 2015

Join us on a "Wonderful Welsh Wine Adventure" Saturday 23rd May.

Details: www.foodadventure.co.uk 


Dates for your diary

Monday 27 April 2015

Celebrate Welsh Wine Week with "A Cheese & Wine Pairing" Wednesday 27th May. 7pm


 Wine & Cheese are two of life's great culinary pleasures, and finding the perfect match can be a delicious endeavour......

Perfect evening for those with a love and passion for wine.


Conducted vineyard tour followed by wine and Welsh cheese pairing.


Cost: £18.50p  Per person.   Booking advisable.


Contact the vineyard direct on info@whitecastlevineyard.com or 01873 821443




Saturday 30th May. A date for your Diary.


White Castle Vineyard shall be offering wine tastings @ Carpanninis Abergavenny In celebration of Welsh Wine Week.


Take the opportunity to meet the passionate people who tend the vines.

Taste our Quality Award Winning Welsh Wines 12.00 - 14.00hr.





Saturday 20th June 2015 A date for your Diary.


The official Opening of The Croft Barn


"Wine & Heritage"



Marvel at the Restoration of our Grade 2* Barn


Join us on A Mid summer vineyard tour.


This offers a great opportunity for visitors to walk and explore the vineyard, and meet the passionate people behind the vineyard.


More informationwww.wineandheritage.org.uk





Easter 2015

Wednesday 01 April 2015

White Castle Vineyard

April 2015


It doesn't get more exciting than Spring.

Spring is one of the temperate seasons following winter and preceding summer.

In the vineyard Winter pruning is near completion and the growing season is about to unfold.

Easter which falls on April 5th this year is a wonderful time for getting the family together.

There's more to Easter than chocolate.....

Why not visit the vineyard where you can stroll amongst the pruned vines and enjoy the surrounding landscape. On return to the cellar door you can enjoy tasting our quality award winning Welsh wines.

Vineyard tours at this time of year allow you to see how a vine grows from its present dormant stage, once pruned, the growing season unfolds. Challenge yourself in recognising fruitful buds...

However wine tasting alone is an option, with views of the vineyard from the cellar door.

The cellar door is now open Friday, Sat, Sun and bank holidays 10 00 - 17.00hrs with a conducted  vineyard tour @ 3pm each day.



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


White Castle News

Sunday 17 August 2014

Thursday 18th September 2014........... A date for your diary!!


White Castle vineyard  Quality Welsh Wines are pleased to be participating in A Full Day of Cookery Demonstrations in association with Cooks Galley Abergavenny & Penny Lewis of The Culinary Cottage, Pandy.


Four classes throughout the day on Thursday 18th September to get you in the foodie mood ahead of Abergavenny food festival weekend.

Booking is essential as there are limited spaces available. Contact Cooks Galley ltd. Telephone 01873 854060


Friday 19th September 2014 .........A date for your diary!!


Upcoming Adventures.....  White Castle Vineyard Tour & Wine Tasting.

Join Food Adventure and have a conducted vineyard tour at White Castle Vineyard followed by wine tasting before a special 3 Course Dinner at Llansantffraed Court Hotel to kick off the Food Festival Weekend.

For more details & to book visit www.foodadventure.co.uk

Telephone 07542 689608



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.




Saturday 24 May 2014

As part of Welsh Wine Week (commencing 26th May 2014) Glyndwr Vineyard, Vale of Glamorgan invites you to a Free Entry Open Day: Sunday 1st June, 11 am to 4pm, wine tasting, self-guided Tours www.glyndwrvineyard.co.uk find us by the Cross In Pub, just outside Cowbridge, by Llanblethian, Vale of Glamorgan.


Celebrating Welsh Wine Week: Wines of Monmouthshire Tour

Thursday 08 May 2014

We’re festive folks, so – in the spirit of Welsh Wine Week – we’re hosting a full day tour at two of our favourite vineyards.


Ancre Hill Estates is our first stop, and it doesn’t take much time to see why we’ve chosen it to kick off our celebrations. Based in the centre of the Wye Valley just outside of Monmouth, this family enterprise’s first seeds were sown in 2006. Since then, Ancre Hill hasn’t wasted any time in wowing the wine world– the vineyard is a proud recipient of several Welsh and international awards. While there, we’ll enjoy a tour of the vineyard and a tutored tasting of sparkling and still wines.


Following our first tour, we’ll be on our merry way to a five-course tasting lunch at Llansantffraed Court Hotel and Restaurant. We’re aiming to delight your senses, which is why we’ve chosen this restaurant   – based in a Grade II listed building – to host us. The restaurant has retained two AA Rosettes for 17 consecutive years; for the past seven years, its wine cellar has been shortlisted for the AA Wine List of the Year Award. Llansantffraed Court is known for its menu, which features local and seasonal produce; in fact, about 80 percent of the food on its menu is sourced from within a 15 mile radius – including the crop from the onsite vegetable garden.


After lunch, we’ll head to White Castle Vineyard, where owners Robb and Nicola Merchant will be waiting for us.  Planted by the Merchants in 2009, don’t let their recent introduction to wine producing fool you.  White Castle has already won awards for their wine.  When Robb and Nicola aren’t showing us around their vineyard, we’ll be sampling four of their wines and learning why they’ve chosen to grow particular grapes over others.


Want to come? We’ll be meeting at 10:00 a.m. on May 26, 2014 at Llansantffraed Court. The tour is £95 per person and participants must be 18 or older to join.


Park your car at the hotel and pop in to meet and greet everyone over coffee or tea and cake. We’ll board the minibus at 10:30 a.m. to head to our first stop.


What’s included:


  • Guided mini bus tour starting from Llansantffraed Court Hotel.  We can also pick you up at Abergavenny train station

  • Welcome coffee or tea and cake.

  • Tutored wine tasting of at least 6 varieties of wine, including sparkling wine.

  • Five-course tasting lunch at Llansantffraed Court Hotel.

  • Guided vineyard visits at Ancre Hill Estates and White Castle Vineyard.

  • Return trip to Llansantffraed Court or Abergavenny train Station at the end of the day.  

Other details:

  • Address of Llansantffraed Court Hotel: 

    Llansantffraed Court Hotel,

    Clytha, Llanvihangel Gobion


    NP7 9BA

    Phone 01873 840678


  • You will have the opportunity to buy wine at the vineyards (credit cards accepted except American Express)

  • A cash bar will be available during lunch

  • Pick up and drop off can be arranged from Abergavenny train station


Head out on the Welsh wine trail

Tuesday 29 April 2014


Wednesday 23 April 2014

Celebrate Welsh Wine Week: Wines of Monmouthshire Tour


Event Details

Join us on a full day tour to kick off Welsh Wine week!

You will visit 2 award-winning vineyards and have a sumptuous 5 course tasting lunch featuring the finest local produce.

We will visit Ancre Hill Estates, a biodynamic vineyard and White Castle Vineyard who planted their vineyard in 2009 and are already receiving awards! You will enjoy a tour of the vineyards and a tutored tasting of their sparkling and still wine.

You will have a 5 course tasting lunch featuring local and seasonal produce at the award winning Llansantffraed Court Hotel a Grade 2 listed country house hotel set in 20 acres of beautiful parkland. Llansantffraed Court has retained two AA rosettes for 17 consecutive years and their wine cellar has been shortlisted for the AA Wine List of the Year from the last seven. About 80% of the food on their local and season menu is sourced from within 15 miles of the hotel as well as their own kitchen walled garden. They are proud to serve local, seasonal and beautifully prepared food to their guests

Meeting Point: Llansantffraed Court.

Address: Clytha, Llanvihangel Gobion, Monmouthshire NP7 9BA

Phone: 01873 840678

Price: £95 per person (You must be 18 or older to join us on this tour)

When : Bank Holiday Monday 26 May 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Park your car and meet the group over a welcome cup of coffee or tea and cake. We will board the mini bus at 10:30 and take a short scenic drive to Ancre Hill Estates where we will be greeted, by the owner Richard, at the Cellar Door. Enjoy a tutored tasting of 3 of Ancre Hills sparkling wines followed by a tour of their biodynamic vineyard.

After the visit to Ancre Hill Vineyard we will return to Llansantffraed Court for a sumptuous 5 course tasting lunch after which we will board the mini bus which will take us to White Castle Vineyard.

At White Castle Vineyard we will be greeted by owners Rob and Nicola. Enjoy a tutored tasting of 3 still and 1 sparkling wine and a tour of the vineyard. You will learn about why they choose to grow certain grape varieties and how they have been able to produce award-winning

What’s included?

  • Guided mini bus tour starting from Llansantffraed Court Hotel
  • Welcome coffee and cake
  • Tutored wine tasting of at least 6 varieties of wine (which will include sparkling wine)
  • 5 course tasting lunch at Llansantffraed Court Hotel
  • Guided vineyard visits at Ancre Hill and White Castle
  • Return transport to Llansantffraed Court at the end of the day.


  • You will be to buy wine at the vineyards (credit cards accepted except American Express)
  • A cash bar will be available during lunch
  • Pick up and drop off can be arranged from Abergavenny train station.wines being relatively new to the world of wine beautifully prepared food to their guests.


Food Adventure Ltd


Meirion St



CF44 8NH

Tel: +44 7542 689608

Email: info@nullfoodadventure.co.uk



Wine Trail in Monmouthshire

Saturday 05 April 2014

English vineyard tours have been making headlines for years, and the internet is awash with excitement about London’s first whisky distillery, yet Welsh wine and whisky have so far remained under-appreciated. Today, the tide is finally turning. We sent Eleanor Aldridge on a road trip around the Welsh countryside to find out more.Welsh wine and whisky are starting to be taken seriously. It’s been ten years since the first barrel of Welsh whisky was unstoppered and over fifteen years since the inaugural cork was popped on a bottle of Welsh wine. Fast-forward to today, and the country is home to over twenty vineyards and a couple of distilleries.With the tentativeness of a Londoner venturing outside the M25 for the first time, critics are slowly coming round. English sparkling wines once shocked the wine community by beating champagne in blind tastings, and with a growing collection of international awards, Welsh producers are on track to do the same. The weather here is ideal for barrel ageing – damp days reduce the “angels’ share” (evaporation) – and cool-climate German varieties like Pinot Noir and Müller-Thurgau are thriving alongside the undisputed star, Bacchus.Yet it’s only in the last few years that small-scale producers have started to offer tours and tastings. It’s an exciting opportunity. The wine and whisky trail is opening up new parts of this beautiful country, and while the drinks may shatter your preconceptions, it’s the warmth of the farmers, winemakers and distillers that’s likely to leave a lasting impression. If you want to find out how wines and spirits go from field to fireside, there’s no better place to do it.You’ll be in good company, too, following in the improbable footsteps of Prince Charles and the Hairy Bikers. Fortunately you won’t need a royal entourage or TV crew, but there are a few things to help you on your way: a car, a designated driver and a bit of practice pronouncing “iechyd da” – cheers.WHISKY IN THE BRECON BEACONS AND BEYONDSuccessfully navigate the switchbacks leading down from the Brecon Beacons, passing wild ponies and waterfalls along the roadside, and you’ll find yourself at the first Welsh distillery for more than a hundred years, Penderyn.They’re understandably keen to blow their own trumpet. Video presentations inform you that since 2004 they’ve picked up a host of IWSC awards and that their range is sold in sixteen countries. More interesting is a sample of clear, 92 per cent spirit straight from their still, and a sniff inside the ex-sherry, madeira and port barrels used to age the whiskies. Old bourbon casks are classically used to impart character, depth and colour, but Penderyn are experimenting with these more distinctive finishes.Photograph by Eleanor AldridgeWhen it comes to tasting their single malts, you’ll want to give them a good “cwtch” first. This little “cuddle” warms the whisky, allowing the flavours to evolve. If you dare to add water, you’ll need to know what you’re doing: try filling an empty glass with water then pouring it out, leaving barely a dewy-sheen, then add the whisky – just two drops of water are needed to soften the spirit.Further west at Dà Mhìle in Ceredigion, a dynamic family team is also making inroads on the spirits scene. They previously shipped their wash up to Springbank in Scotland, but now have a their own still, and will be producing and ageing whisky on site. During the hands-on tour of their secluded farm they take visitors through the workings of a small-scale distillery. Their passion for experimentation is infectious.Visitors can put their tastebuds to test trying to detect foraged gorse, elderflower and camomile among the botanicals in their gin, or sample their signature seaweed-infused special. “We have tried it with oysters”, admits distiller John-James. “That’s kind of the most decadent way of having this stuff. Have an oyster, pour the gin into the shell and drink it from there.”Image courtesy of Dá MhíleVINEYARDS IN THE WYE VALLEYBack towards the English border lies the heartland of the Welsh wine industry: the Wye Valley. Sandstone cottages, farmland and narrow lanes – their banks once built up by drovers to herd sheep – distinguish these low hills from the otherworldly Beacons. These landscapes inspired what some claim to be the first British travel guide, Observations on the River Wye, by the Reverend William Gilpin, along with the likes of Turner and Wordsworth, in the 1700s.White Castle is one of the newer vineyards here. Congenial owners Robb and Nicola are gradually turning the grazing land behind their Grade II listed stone barns over to grape growing. Their personal tours offer an insight into modern viticulture, while a glass of their mulberry-laced Rondo is proof that red grapes can be grown successfully here. A Welsh red will never have the powerful tannins of a Malbec or intensity of a Cabernet Sauvignon (which need warmer weather to ripen), but those who favour lighter, delicate wines are in luck.A trip to Wernddu Organics is less structured. Phoenix, Schonburger and Seyval Blanc vines share this small farmĀ­ with a herd of friendly alpacas (remember that they like to spit). Their unusual, oaked Pinot Noir rosé is only sold on-site, a contrast to wines made at nearby Ancre Hill, which are already popping up at the likes of Fortnum & Mason.Photograph by Eleanor AldridgeThe more traditional Parva Farm boasts beautiful views towards the ruins of Tintern Abbey. “When we first came here there was real surprise that there was a vineyard in Wales”, remembers charming owner Judith Dudley. Things are a little different these days. On slopes once planted by the Romans, they now grow the aromatic Bacchus – a grape aptly named after the Roman god of wine. More unusual is their spicy mead. The recipe for this ancient honey wine was honed here by the Abbey’s monks several hundred years ago.WINEMAKING AROUND THE FOREST OF DEANFor now, the only thing many Wye Valley vineyards lack is a winery. Most schlep their grapes over the border to use the facilities at Three Choirs. With their smart restaurant and vineyard-view hotel rooms, Three Choirs offers a glimpse into the future of the Welsh wine industry. Their slick tour explains their rise from humble fruit farm to a 250,000-bottle-a-year behemoth.The highlight of the tasting is the little-known Siegerrebe (a cross between Madeleine Angevine and Gewürztraminer). Its heady elderflower scent is wonderfully evocative of British summer days – a fitting image to end this “grape” escape.NEED TO KNOWAccommodation:
There are a variety of self-catering cottages near the border at the enchanting Puzzlewood, a Tolkein-esque forest of moss and ferns amid a weathered iron ore mine. Further west, you can wake up to views of the Brecon Beacons at the Old Rectory Stables near Abergavenny.
Jill Berryman’s specialty is setting up surprise woodland proposals, but she’ll also delight wine-wearied palates with gourmet picnics across the Wye Valley. A restorative bowl of cawl, the national lamb, potato, carrot and swede soup, at the idiosyncratic Penn y Cae Inn is is the ideal post-Penderyn treat (look out for the meerkat enclosure in the back garden). Pub-lovers should hole up in a booth at the Ostrich Inn after a visit to Three Choirs.
It’s around a two-and-a-half-hour drive to the Welsh border from London. We travelled with Rhino Car Hire.Explore more of Wales with the Rough Guide to Wales. Book hostels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.Tags: Europe / Wales / Food & drink

Read more: http://www.roughguides.com/article/on-the-welsh-whisky-and-wine-trail/#ixzz2y08BUwDZ

Many thanks to Ellie Aldridge author. 



Welsh Wine Week 2014

Sunday 12 January 2014

One of the first key diary dates for 2014 in the Welsh Vineyards is Welsh Wine Week commencing 26th May 2014.

Vineyard activities will be posted as they are organised by each individual vineyard.  


White Castle Review of 2013

Sunday 12 January 2014
View of White Castle Vineyard 2013

Time to reflect on 2013.....

The year began with a snow fall, zero and minus temperatures the vineyard  looked like "A Winter Wonderland" whilst the vines lay dormant

January saw the invention of "smokey joe" in readiness for winter pruning, patent by Robb himself.

February 2013 we spent weeks winter pruning in readiness for the growing season, occasional snow flurries as we pruned.

March 2013 we tasted the fruits if our labour from harvest 2012 along with our Sparkling Rose from harvest 2011 which lay rested on its lees.

April 2013 we lift red 5.5 miles / 8750 metre of mulch that surrounded the vines since planting in 2009.

May 2013. Spring had sprung. Bud burst.

June 2013. 25th May - 2nd June Welsh Wine Week, an annual event.

An opportunity to walk the vineyard and meet the passionate owners.

June 2013 was the milestone when Welsh Vineyards came together and formed A Welsh Vineyard. Association and Wine Trail Wales.

Welsh wine week we released our 2nd vintage wines Pinot Noir and Rondo.

July 2013. 6th July we had our first flowering within the Rondo grape variety.

August is a month of canopy management. Flowering complete fruit set follows.

September is again canopy management to allow the grapes to bask in the sunshine, veraison well and truly established.

October 31st saw the last harvest of grapes from the vineyard. Vendange  complete for another year. 2013 hoping to be a vintage to remember.

Great Grape News: Our Rondo 2012 gained a bronze award at The Welsh Vineyard Association Inaugural Competition 28th October.

November. Finally finished washing all those picking crates too many to count!!!

December 2013. Our Festive Weekend At The Cellar Door saw the release of our 1st Sparkling Wine Vintage 2011.

Live Christmas tipples....Robb and I were invited to join Jamie Owen at BBC Wales radio for a live interview on Sunday 8th December. What A Year That Was......2013



Sunday 12 January 2014

Report written by James Graham of UKVINE

A delightful lunch and award ceremony was staged on Monday as the Welsh

vineyard industry announced it had arrived on the wine scene as a stand-alone part of the wider UK industry.

And the silver wear was accompanied by a call from the re-formed Welsh Vineyard Association (WVA) that “Welsh wine needs you” made by WVA chairman Richard Morris at the event.

He says: “We want to attract everyone in the Welsh wine industry – growers, retail, enthusiast – anyone who has an interest in the subject. Membership is welcome to join at just £20, which will fund our work promoting Welsh wine.”


The WVA wine competition 2013 was staged before the lunch, when three judges, selected for their wine business standing, worked through 35 wines in three classes – Still white and Still Rose; Red wine; and Sparkling White and Sparkling rose – ultimately awarding one gold, five silver and 15 bronze medals.

Head judge, Decanter World Wine Award senior judge and Michelin starred chef, Roger Jones, was keen to point out that the wines were judged to the “highest international standards” and that no favour was shown, despite the Welshness of the judging panel. The wines were blind tasted and marked using the rigorous Decanter World Wine Awards format.

Joining Jones on the panel were Bill Gunn, former managing director of Champagne producer Pol Roger, and Julie Bell from the Felin Fach Griffin near
Brecon, winner of the Best Pub Wine List of the Year award at the 2012 Imbibeawards.

Award winners

The one gold, five silver and 15 bronze medals were awarded as below:


White and Sparkling Rose  
Ancre Hill Sparkling Rose  2009


White and Sparkling Rose
Tintern Pava   Bacchus    2011
Tintern Pava Bwthyn Rose  2011

Red Wine
Ancre Hill Pinot Noir  2009
Ancre Hill Pinot Noir  2011     

White and Sparkling Rose
Ancre Hill Sparkling White  2008


White and Still Rose 
Ancre Hill  Chardonnay  2010
Pant Du Rose  2012             
Tintern Pava Sir Fynwy  2012              
Wernddu White  2011
Sugarloaf Abergavenny  2011        
Red Wine

White castle Rondo  2012            
Tintern Pava Ty Coch  2011

 Sparkling White and Sparkling Rose
Wernddu Sparkling  2007
Glyndwr White Brut  2009    
Ancre Hill Sparkling Pinot Noir/ Seyval Blanc  2008
Sugerloaf  Rhosyn  2007
Llanerch Sparkling Brut  2011
Ancre Hill Sparkling White  2009
Tintern Pava Dathliad White  2006
Meadowview Gwyn-y-Fro White  2010

The competition and lunch was held at Llanerch Vineyard in the Vale of Glamorgan, itself in the midst of an ambitious expansion to grow its restaurant
and holiday business. The day was hosted by Ryan Davies, Llanerch vineyard director.

Wales now boasts 17 vineyards, the majority of which have already joined the WVA.

“Welsh wines are definitely gaining in stature and reputation, and Wales is now producing wine to rival anything that can be found anywhere in the
world,” said WVA chairman Richard Morris, who with his wife Joy runs the multi-award winning Ancre Hill Estates vineyard near Monmouth, one of only two biodynamic vineyards in the UK.

Morris says: “It is incredibly important we as an Association and producers move forward. We hope to attract non vineyard members too – people
interested in wine and Welsh food and drink – and our aim is for the WVA annual competition to become an international event with Welsh and international classes.”

Vineyards in Wales

More than 20 different grape varieties are grown in Wales with Welsh vineyards producing around 100,000 bottles of wine each year.

The Romans and French monks are said to have introduced wine to Britain, but it was Lord Bute who is credited with planting Wales’ first commercial
vineyard in 1875 at Castell Coch near Cardiff. In recent years Welsh wine has taken centre stage at major political events, most notably when Britain held the Presidency of the European Union which saw Tintern Parva from Monmouthshire served at the European Summit meeting, and wines from the Vale of Glamorgan’s Glyndwr Vineyard are served in the House of Lords’ and have graced European State banquets.