Llanerch Vineyard: A vine place for some r’n’r

Nestled in the leafy Vale of Glamorgan, Llanerch Vineyard made its name as one of the pioneers of wine-making in Wales with its familiar ‘Cariad’ brand.

Today, however, Llanerch Vineyard is much more than a wine producer.

Modelled on the famous Marlborough destination vineyards of New Zealand, Llanerch has two well-regarded restaurants, five-star guest accommodation, hosts a popular cookery school and is even licensed for weddings.

One of the attractions of any vineyard is, of course, wine tasting. In the winter months, the tasting is held in a cosy spot indoors, but between April and October, it includes a guided tour of the vines by the owner for a real insight into how the wines are produced.

As testament to the popularity of the wines, they can now only be tasted at Llanerch. The entire 10,000-12,000 bottle annual production of Cariad wines is sold on site, either in the restaurant, at the bar or through its on-site shop.

The Hensol-based vineyard’s transformation came at the hands of Ryan Davies, who took over ownership in 2010. The site, which he viewed initially while looking for a site for adventure tourism, reminded him of his travels in New Zealand.

He saw potential to create something on the Marlborough model, so ditched the adventure tourism plan and, with family backing, put in an offer to buy the site.

Looking at the neatly planted rows of vines, it’s easy to see what inspired him.

Set away from the hustle and bustle of nearby towns and the capital city, Llanerch Vineyard offers a tangible air of calm, which has made it a popular escape for those looking for a day or two of rest and relaxation.

For something more upbeat, Llanerch also hosts celebrations. With up to 40 weddings taking place each year, the vineyard also holds Christmas party nights in the festive season, corporate events and family parties.

After all, who doesn’t fancy a party in a vineyard?

Llanerch Vineyard is in Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan. For more information go to www.llanerch-vineyard.co.uk.

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