By Ron Howells • 07 July 2021 • 9:23
Retired nurse and ex-postal worker scoop prestigious wine award for the Montgomery Vineyard in Wales.
A man and wife team from Wales are giving French and English winemakers a run for their money after grabbing a gold award for what judges from the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) described as a “deliciously fresh” pinot noir.
White Castle Vineyard’s “pinot noir reserve 2018”, a red wine that costs £25.50 – €29.77 a bottle, has become the first Welsh vintage wine ever to win a gold medal in the awards.
“This is the biggest prize we have ever won. This is the first time we have entered the Decanter awards. It is judged blind so, for us, this win really underpins what we have been striving to do in terms of quality,” said Robb Merchant, a former Royal Mail worker who runs White Castle with his wife, Nicola, a retired nurse.
Robb went on to describe the win as “fantastic” for the vineyard which had been his “wife’s dream” to establish.
“It has got a lovely cherry red fruit character. It’s a really elegant, fresh wine. It’s delicious and the fact it comes from Wales is a bonus,” said DWWA co-chair Sarah Jane Evans.
“We’re used to the UK making white wines but what is interesting is they have made a red wine, which people have always said with the UK climate was impossible,” added Evans.
English wine producers have struggled in the past with an inconsistent climate and higher production costs than continental rivals.
Julia Trustram Eve, marketing director of the English Wine Producers trade body, said: “English wines really are on an upward trajectory. As volumes continue to grow, so will our efforts to develop markets both here and abroad.”
Montgomery Vineyard mission statement
In 2012, Montgomery Vineyard began its journey to create the finest signature wines of Wales. The vineyard is based in a unique part of Wales, the garden of Montgomeryshire. A passionate understanding of geology, uncompromising south-facing terroir and an unwavering vision to create quality Welsh wines defines Montgomery Vineyard.
“Our vision is straightforward. We strive to create the finest signature wines from Wales. From vine to wine, we target perfection”
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Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!.
Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.
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