So hands up if you knew this week was English and Welsh Wine Week ?
I can hardly say me neither as I am writing this - but it is a bit of a well kept secret isn't it ? I don't remember our Assembly telling us about it much or promoting it ? Or am I wrong ?
Mind you, they have been run off their feet over at the Senedd mind what will all these sessions since the start of the election period.. perhaps they were just too busy !
Notably however the Deputy Minister, Alun Davies, did notice and issued a press release where he said
“Compared to some traditional wine growing regions Wales may be a relative new-comer, but in terms of quality and potential, Welsh wine is certainly making a name for itself at home and abroad.”
So to celebrate Welsh Wine week a number of Welsh vineyards are opening to the public and hosting special events up to the 6th June.
So where are these vineyards and what are they doing ? Let's start in Monmouth with Parva Farm Vineyard
This vineyard, near Tintern, will be open every day during Welsh Wine Week with self-guided vineyard tours - also a treasure hunt for the children – and wine tastings. Also, for wine lovers who want to learn more there will be special guided tours with tutored wine tastings on Thursday (June 2nd) at 5.30pm costing £5.
Parva Farm is also an award winner as it tasted success last week at the 2011 International Wine Challenge, where its Tintern Parva Bacchus 2009 won a silver award, and it will this week be releasing Afon Gwy 2010 - a medium dry white - the first of its 2010 wines to be on sale.
Judith Dudley, who runs the vineyard with her husband Colin said they were “delighted with our win,” and are “very much looking forward to welcoming people to our vineyard and telling them about Welsh wine.”
Staying in Monmouth, Ancre Hill Estates, which picked up two trophies at the 2010-11 Wales the True Taste Food and Drink Awards, will be releasing its first sparkling wine during the week.
The Monmouth vineyard’s owners, Richard and Joy Morris will be opening the vineyard every day to visitors between 10.30am and 4.30pm and offering twice daily vineyard tours with Welsh cheese platters available for lunch.
It's going to be a particularly special week for Pant Du Vineyard at Penygroes, Gwynedd. The Hughes family has planted a variety of vines on eight acres of the Nantlle Valley’s south facing slopes, and hope to officially launch their first wine during the week.
Named after the 400 year-old farmhouse from which the vineyard also takes its name, Pant Du is a red wine produced from four year-old Rondo vines. Early tastings have proved very positive indeed – the first bottle having raised £45 at a charity auction - and around 260 bottles will be produced in this first year with a potential 12,000 bottles in the future.
2011 will be a special year too for White Castle Vineyard, at Llanvetherine near Abergavenny, where owners Robb and Nicola Merchant expect to pick the vineyard’s first crop of grapes this autumn. Their vines were planted in 2009 and they aim to eventually produce around 10,000 bottles a year.
The vineyard will be open for visits between 3pm and 6pm Monday to Friday (May 30th – June 3rd). For more information call 01873 821443.
And for something completely different, visit Wernddu Wine, with Alpaca walking, a bouncy castle, as well as teas and cakes will be on the list of things to do.
The Monmouth vineyard will be releasing its 2010 organic dry white wine, which visitors will be able to taste. Owners Frank and Leigh Strawford will be opening the vineyard to the public on Wednesday to Friday (1st - 3rd June).
So that's a flavour of what's happening this week - other vineyards in Wales include (with the best links I can find ..)
Bryn Ceiliog Vineyard in Penarth
Penarth Vineyard in Penarth
Glyndwr Vineyard in Cowbridge
Llanerch Vineyard in Hensol
Jabajak Vineyard in Llanboidy
Sugar Loaf Vineyard in Abergavenny
Celtic Wines in Beulah
Cwm Deri Vineyard in Narberth
And if any of you guys are doing something special for Welsh Wine Week get in touch and I'll let people know !!