Welsh Vine Trail

Reasons to be cheerful

Monday 25 May 2015 by Parva Farm

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.