As the days get longer and the sun pokes its head from out the clouds it’s time to pay homage to home grown producers who battle against the British weather all year round.
When we think of a bottle of wine its often Napa, California, The Rhone Valley, Medoc or Provence in France that spring to mind. But have you ever thought of bringing a local wine to the dinner table?
Tucked away near the Camel Valley Estuary in Cornwall sits the Camel Valley Vineyard. One of Britain’s few and most successful wine producers since 1989.
Set up by Bob and Annie an ex army couple, the vineyard has been lovingly grown from the ground up since they moved here almost 30 years ago.
But surely the weather in Britain isn’t suitable for growing bumper crops of grapes? With plenty of sun most summers in the South West of England, the sloping hills are drenched in hot sunshine, whilst the winter brings plenty of rainfall feeding the dry ground.
I was lucky enough to visit the winery on a Wednesday when they open to the public for tours and sampling! Not being a wine buff myself I wasn’t sure what to expect but one of the Camel Valley team led us around the vineyard and we were introduced to the vertical basket press, oak vats and barrels and wine plungers!
Of course the highlight was being led back into the warmth and sampling the delights of the wine. Sparkling white, rose and even red! Something totally new. Spit buckets were of course provided for the refined amongst us..it was debatable how much use ours got.
The wine was divine. Knowing it had been grown only meters from our seats made it taste even better. The Camel Valley team haven’t gone empty handed. They have been awarded numerous awards for their produce. Waitrose Drinks Producer of the Year Awards in 2002, followed by a Gold Medal for The International Wine Challenge in 2005l. In 2010 they took the Trophy for ‘Best International Traditional Method Sparkling Wine’ , ahead of Bollinger and Roederer. A feat indeed.
Not just kept to Cornwall. Camel’s delights can be found in Waitrose nationally along with Hakkasan and Fortnum’s in London.
For visits to the vineyard book online at https://www.camelvalley.com/grand-tour-tasting.html
Tours run every Wednesday at 17.00 throughout April- October