Every year on Christmas day, boxing day and new years day, people voluntarily run into the Cornish sea in...
Well the county is blessed with great sunny weather, fertile soil and a small band of dedicated and caring vineyard owners who are putting Cornwall on the map for wine so you’ll have to eat, or sip, your words and read our guide to Cornish wine tours.
Okay we’ll admit that English wine doesn’t have that same reputation as France, Italy and Spain’s output yet with 1,800 hectares covered with fruit bearing vines on more than 450 vineyards it’s safe to say the UK is more than capable of producing the stuff. The lack of reputation doesn’t stop the 3.15m bottles being sold each year nor the awards so whether you fancy yourself a sommelier or your idea of soaking up local culture involves alcohol maybe this year you should swap Beaujolais for Carbis Bay.
A short drive, or bus journey perhaps, from Carbis Bay will transport you to the delightfully quaint vineyard, Polgoon. This Cornish vineyard built up credibility initially from its range of ciders and pressed juices but has since produced a line of award winning wines. Perhaps one benefit of the lack of reputation for Cornish and indeed British wine producers is that it forces them to experiment in order to garner reputation.
Take the Polgoon elderflower sparkling wine, not exactly traditional but deliciously refreshing all the same; River Cottage seem to think so, they stock it at their restaurants. Polgoon, once a rundown farm now boasts not only vineyards and an orchard but a shop and deli too where you can of course taste, pair and buy their produce before or after one of their acclaimed tours. You’re welcome to visit the most southerly Vineyard in the UK 7 days a week, book your tour in advance and if you fancy it dine in their new onsite kitchen open Tuesday through to Saturday to soak up all those sippable samples.
Knightor Winery in St Austell, a stone’s throw from the Eden Project, is set on four acres of vineyard, Cornish hedgerow, orchards and pastures making it a very idyllic spot. It’s no wonder so many people decide to get married here and when no one is tying the knot Knightor is a haven for even the most grape shy wine fan.
Their suite of granite barns provide the perfect housing for wine production (and drinking) which is open to the public and can be explored in depth through Cornish wine tours and tastings. They profess to being extremely knowledgeable about growing grapes in Cornish Climate offering in depth ‘winemaker’ tours that dig deep on certain approaches and techniques.
However if you prefer to learn via experience perhaps one of their special feast nights might be more up your street, home cooking with delectable local produce and of course paired with their wines. Best to call to arrange your trip in case of a wedding reception and to check the dates of their feast nights head to their website.
Cornish wine tours at Camel Valley feature award winning wines, scratch that, globally recognised award winning wines. They can be found, sampled, bought and enjoyed at this Cornish vineyard in Bodmin. Since 1989 they have been producing white, rose, red and sparkling wines that have not gone unnoticed, in 2002 Camel Valley was awarded with the Waitrose drinks producer of the year, impressive stuff having grown from a humble husband and wife duo to a fully fledged outfit with a state of the art facilities and a global reach.
They have some firsts under their belt too with Cornwall’s first ever traditional method sparkling wine which gained their finest accolade to date, gold at the ‘International Wine Challenge’. It would be pointless to continue in listing their achievements when really the joy is to be had in tasting rather than testaments.
Their wine is exported, stocked at Fortnum & Masons, in racks at Hakkasan London and at Tate Modern; even as far as Japan. Luckily you’ll be able to sample it on location at the Vineyard, by the glass or the bottle. Their success hasn’t gone to their heads like their wine will, expect a relaxed and friendly experience, no snobbery, just a love of wine.
Struggling to pick a Vineyard or deliberating over who is going to be the designated driver? Perhaps Cornish Wine Tours and their full day package covering 4 Cornish Vineyards is a full bodied option. It includes a 3 course meal and a chance to visit Kernow chocolate for those with a sweet tooth.
Planning your trip to Cornwall? Find your perfect holiday cottage in St Ives and the surrounding area.