West Coast Wine Country
Forget Napa, the New World and Mainland Europe, those in the know are discovering that Cornwall can hold its own amongst the most experienced sommelier reviews with award-winning vineyards and why shouldn’t it? The favourable climate, soils, aspects and passion to create products of excellence mean that if you haven’t tried Cornish wine, you should now! Held in such high regards, they are often paired in the countys’ most highly rated eateries on wine flights with some regularly being served on the dining tables of the Royal Family. Read on for a selection of our most local vineyards and how you can enjoy the whole experience during your stay:
Nestled in the heart of the Cornish countryside and only a ten-minute drive away, Trevibban Mill is an award-winning working vineyard known for its stunning collection of Cornish wines and cider all made within a stylish and contemporary winery in a beautifully rural setting.
Close to the dramatic North Cornish coast, next to the picturesque fishing village of Padstow, Engin & Liz Mumcuoglu, planted the Vineyard in 2008 on a working arable farm with the vision to produce high quality sparkling & still wine on the coast of Cornwall. Everything from wine and cider making to bottling, disgorging and labelling is done on-site which gives greater control over quality.
Trevibban Mill provides;
- Wine Tastings – a relaxed experience where guests can enjoy tasters of 7 of their wines, these can be booked Wednesday-Sunday between 12-3.30pm.
- Guided Tours – where guests will get a behind-the-scenes story, usually led by one of the owners or a family member of the estate, followed by a tutored tasting of 5 of our selected wines, these run Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 4 pm.
- Grand Walking Tours – where guests will be guided around the estate by one of the owners or a family member, seeing the vineyard, orchard and lakeside learning about viticulture and how we make our wine and cider followed by lunch and a tutored tasting, these run on Sundays only.
- Guests can also be provided with a light lunch including 4 different organic hummuses, local cheeses and hand-carved charcuterie boards alongside glasses of wines or ciders or alternatively to just to browse the full range of our wines and ciders in the shop.
Booking is recommended via their website.
Knightor Winery is a producer of premium quality English still and sparkling wines, nestled above St Austell Bay and a stones throw from the Eden Project. Set in a tranquil location Knightor Winery is positioned within 4 acres of beautiful Cornish pasture, orchard and hedgerows. Using grapes grown at their vineyards in Portscatho and Seaton on the South Cornish coast, as well as other English vineyards, Knightor create a limited production red, white and rosé still wines, sparkling wines and their very own English Vermouth.
Minimal intervention means all their wines are vegan-friendly, low in sulphates and the sweetness comes from fruit, not sugar. Through years of innovation and research using their base wines and local herbs, they have also created a family of English Vermouths. Rich and intense aromas and flavours make them great in cocktails and perfect as a spritz or aperitif.
Knightor Winery offer weekly guided tours around the winery, every Sunday at 12pm and you can even stay to enjoy a delicious Sunday roast afterwards. If you would like to do a wine tasting, you can stop by the winery Wednesday through until Sunday between the hours of 11-4 to try four of their English wines for £5. They regularly run feast nights on Fridays and special foodie events through the Spring, Summer and into Autumn.
When ex-RAF pilot Bob Lindo and his wife Annie planted their first eight thousand vines in 1989, they never dreamed of the phenomenal success they would achieve within 2 decades. It is the UK’s only wine producer to have a Royal Warrant and is served to guests of Prince Charles and by the very best chefs including Nathan Outlaw and Rick Stein.
Bob ‘did a vintage’ in Germany and both took viticulture courses and read every vine and wine book they could find. They built a winery and equipped it with the finest equipment they could afford. Annie is the first to admit the early years weren’t easy: ‘We practically lived in the vineyard, doing all the work by hand, and when it came to harvest time it was just us and a few friends for picking, then Bob would stay up all night crushing the grapes. But they loved it, always striving for perfection in the vineyard and the winery, and then we won a medal in the national English Wine competition for our first wine, so we knew we were doing something right.’
Now the second generation winemaker is hard at work at Camel Valley. Sam Lindo, a maths graduate who had seemed destined for a career in the city, instead decided to make his life in Cornwall and returned to the family farm, where he had grown up, in 2002. He has now taken over as Winemaker, with a little help from Dad now and again, and in 2007 won ‘UK Winemaker of the Year Award, as well as the Wine of the Year Trophy, and Sparkling Wine Trophy in the UK Vineyards annual competition for English wines judged solely by Masters of Wine.’ Sam retained the coveted ‘Vintners Trophy’ for the best UK English sparkling wine and another 3 Trophies in 2008.
So what is the secret of Camel Valley’s success? Obviously, the Lindos were fortunate to have started their wine business at a time when there was a resurgence of interest in local food and drink, but that’s only part of the story. ‘Our wine is sold at Rick Stein’s and throughout Cornwall, but it also goes a lot further afield,’ said Bob. ‘For example, we supply Waitrose nationally, Fortnum’s and Hakkasan in London, and even export to Japan. You’d be surprised how many users say they first tried a glass of our wine at Tate Modern in London and felt they just had to come and visit the vineyard. I think making a top-quality product is the secret of our success.’
Visiting Camel Valley:
- The shop is open for bottle and case sales Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. They are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
- Guided Tours take place, Monday-Friday between April to September (March/October/November dates may be added). They will tell you about the growing season of the vine and show you round the winery too. They will explain how grapes are transformed into award-winning wines – and of course, a glass of wine is included!
- They will be serving wine by the glass on the sun terrace and garden Mon-Fri 11am-4:30pm.
So if you are a fan of the fruits of the vine, a visit to a Cornish Vinyard is a ‘must do’ treat during your stay. If you want to take your sampling seriously, take a look at Cornish Wine Tours who organise the whole day for you, including the driving! See you soon!