Archive for July, 2014

Penarth Estate Vineyard

08/07/2014

Penarth Fawr sits on the banks of the River Severn about a mile to the east of Newtown. The house dates from the fifteenth century and is a beautiful ‘black and white’ timber framed house so typical of Montgomeryshire.

Bernard Herbert, who hails from Shropshire, his wife Tanya, from the USA and their children came to Penarth Fawr in the late 90s after selling their restaurant business in the US. They wanted a better life for their children as well as an opportunity for Bernard to have a go at his hobby of growing vines to make wine.

This interest came from a number of trips to see vineyards all over the world, opportunities that came due to their wine bar and restaurant businesses in London. So began Penarth Estate.

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Bernard’s philosophy is to plant vines that are known for their quality and that’s why he decided to plant the Champagne varietals Pinot Noir, Chardonnay a Pinot Meunier. Some argued that they wouldn’t grow that far north but a small crop was harvested in 2002. Since then there have been more plantings and the vineyards now cover 3 hectares.

Most of the vineyard has been planted with the Champagne varietals but there are others for experimentation such as Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Rondo, Sauvignon Blanc and more.

The most interesting thing about the vineyard is the approach to making wine. Rather than decide to make a certain wine each year Bernard works with the climate.

In an average year they only make sparkling wine. They have three sparkling wines in the range all made in the traditional method, the same method that’s used for Champagne. One of the sparkling wines is made from a mix of the Champagne grapes, one is a rosé and the other is a ‘blanc de blanc’ style, that is a sparkling wine made from Chardonnay.

People started to sit up and take notice at the end of the 00s when their sparkling wine won an award from the famous wine magazine Decanter. Since then their sparkling rosé has also won an award.

In a year with a good harvest they make still wine but in a bad year the grapes are turned into a brandy, the only grape brandy in Wales.

Three Choirs and Halfpenny Green make the wine whilst the Brandy is distilled in Ludlow.

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Having businesses in London is a great help as they provide a ready route to market. There they sell their sparkling wines whilst the still wines are kept more for the local market. The sparkling wines are available locally too of course.

There aren’t any plans to increase the acreage as the next step would be to sell via supermarkets. This would mean a big step in terms of production but, because they are competitive on price, the profit from doing this isn’t worth it in Bernard’s opinion.

Nevertheless there are interesting plans for the future. At the moment a maturing warehouse is being built from straw bales covered by a lime wash. This interesting design will keep this ‘cellar’ at around 10˚C all year round. Finally, there are plans to build a winery so that they can make their wine on site.

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It is possible to visit the vineyard on occasion but prospective visitors need to make an appointment to arrange a visit. However, the wines are available in the lovely deli Quinces of Newtown.

Having had good weather in 2013 we might be able to expect some interesting wines available this year, the decision on what kind of wines to bottle is about to be made, we’ll see shortly what will be the Penarth Estate vintage 2013.

Gwinllan Penarth Estate

08/07/2014

Mae tŷ Penarth Fawr ar lannau’r Afon Hafren rhyw filltir i’r dwyrain o’r Drenewydd. Mae’n dyddio nôl i’r pymthegfed ganrif ac mae’n un o’r tai ‘du a gwyn’ ffram bren hyfryd sy’n nodweddiadol o Sir Drefaldwyn.

Daeth Bernard Herbert sy’n hanu o Swydd yr Amwythig, ei wraig Tanya sy’n hanu o’r Unol Daleithiau a’u plant i Benarth Fawr ar ddiwedd y 90au ar ôl gwerthu eu busnes bwyty yn yr UDA. Roeddynt eisiau bywyd gwell i’w plant a hefyd cyfle i Bernard roi cynnig ar ei ddiddordeb o geisio tyfu grawnwin er mwyn gwneud gwin.

Daeth y diddordeb hwn o wahanol dripiau i ymweld â gwinllannoedd ar hyd a lled y byd yn sgil eu busnes bwytai a barrau gwin yn Llundain. Felly dyna ddechrau ar Winllan Penarth.

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Athroniaeth Bernard yw plannu mathau o rawnwin sy’n adnabyddus am ei safon.Dyna pam y penderfynodd blannu’r grawnwin sy’n cael eu defnyddio i wneud Champagne – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay a Pinot Meunier. Er i rai ddadlau na fuasent yn tyfu mor bell i’r gogledd fe gafwyd cnwd bach yn 2002. Aethant wedyn i blannu mwy o winwydd ac mae yno bellach 3 hectar.

Mae’r rhan fwyaf o’r winllan wedi ei blannu gyda’r grawnwin Champagne ond mae yna hefyd rai eraill at ddibenion arbrofol megis Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Rondo, Sauvignon Blanc ac eraill.

Be sy’n fwyaf diddorol am y winllan yw’r agwedd tuag at wneud y gwin. Yn hytrach na phenderfynu gwneud y gwin yma neu’r llall bob blwyddyn mae Bernard yn gweithio gyda’r hinsawdd.

Mewn blwyddyn arferol maent yn gwneud gwin pefriog yn unig. Mae tri gwin pefriog ganddynt bob blwyddyn ac maent i gyd yn cael eu gwneud yn y dull traddodiadol, yr union ru’n fath a Champagne. Mae un o’r gwinoedd pefriog yn gymysgedd o rawnwin Champagne, un rhosliw pefriog ac un ‘blanc de blanc’, hynny ydi gwin pefriog wedi ei wneud o Chardonnay.

Fe ddechreuodd bobl gymryd y fenter o ddifrif ar ddiwedd yr 00au pan enillodd eu gwin pefriog wobr Decanter, sef y cylchgrawn gwin enwog.  Ers hynny mae eu gwin pefriog rhosliw hefyd wedi ennill gwobr.

Pan mae’r cynhaeaf yn dda maent yn gwneud gwin llonydd a pan mae’r tywydd yn wael mae’r holl gynnyrch yn cael ei droi’n frandi, yr unig frandi sydd wedi ei wneud o rawnwin yng Nghymru.

Yn Three Choirs a Halfpenny Green mae’r gwin yn cael ei wneud ar hyn o bryd ac yn Llwydlo mae’r brandi yn cael ei ddistyllu.

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Mae cael y busnesau yn Llundain yn hwb mawr oherwydd mae ganddynt farchnad barod i’w gwin. Yno maent yn gwerthu eu gwinoedd pefriog tra’n cadw eu gwinoedd llonydd i’r farchnad leol. Mae’r gwinoedd pefriog i gael yn lleol hefyd wrth gwrs.

Does dim cynllun i ehangu maint y winllan yn y dyfodol oherwydd y cam nesaf fyddai gwerthu trwy’r archfarchnadoedd. Golygai hynna dipyn go lew fwy o gynnyrch ond, gan eu bod yn gystadleuol, nid yw’r arian y buasent yn eu cael am hyn yn werth y buddsoddiad ym marn Bernard.

Er hynny mae cynlluniau diddorol am y dyfodol. Ar hyn o bryd mae warws aeddfedu yn cael ei adeiladu o fyrnau gwellt wedi gorchuddio a chalch. Mae’r dyluniad diddorol hwn yn cadw’r ‘seler’ tua 10˚C trwy’r flwyddyn. Yn olaf, mae cynllun arfaethedig i godi gwindy fel eu bod yn gallu troi eu grawnwin yn win ar y safle.

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Mae’n bosib ymweld â’r winllan o bryd i’w gilydd ond mae angen cysylltu â nhw o flaen llaw i drefnu. Serch hynny, mae eu cynnyrch ar gael yn lleol yn siop hyfryd Quinces of Newtown.

Gyda thywydd da yn 2013 efallai bydd gwinoedd diddorol ar gael eleni, mae’r penderfyniad o beth i wneud a’r gwin sy’n prysur aeddfedu ar fin cael ei wneud, cawn weld yn fuan beth fydd y 2013 vintage o Benarth.