Visit Britain’s most southerly vineyard
PUBLISHED: 13:49 02 October 2020 | UPDATED: 13:31 05 October 2020
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Get a taste of Cornish wine at Holy Vale Vineyard on the Isles of Scilly
Situated in the tranquil and stunningly beautiful Holy Vale on the nature trail at the heart of St Mary’s – was described by wine connoisseur, Michael Broadbent as one of the most beautiful vineyard sites in the world. Scilly’s microclimate has allowed Britain’s most southerly vineyard to produce fine Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, alongside an excellent sparkling wine.
Nine years ago, Star Castle Hotel owner Robert Francis fulfilled a lifetime ambition by planting 7,000 Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris vines across seven acres of land. “I have been passionate about wine for as long as I can remember, therefore it seemed only logical that one day I would look to produce my own,” says Robert.
In 2009 Robert planted his 6,500 Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris vines across seven-acres of beautiful land on the HolyVale site. By 2014, he had produced the first vintages of the Silver Carn Chardonnay, Silver Carn Pinot Gris, Holy Vale Rose, Holy Vale Pinot Noir classic and Holy Vale Pinot Noir. “A combination of the micro-climate here on the Isles of Scilly, my dogged determination and the steadfast support and advice of Willi Opitz [one of the world’s foremost wine producers] has meant that our vineyard is now one of a handful in the UK producing fine Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs and one of, if not the only one producing Pinot Gris.”
The winery has been converted from an old barn, in keeping with the setting, with an exhibition telling the story of a year in the life of a vineyard and the winemaking process.
Wine tours and tastings are held at Holy Vale between March and late October each year, by appointment, with Robert offering an introduction to viticulture, including a tour of the vineyard and a brief update on the history of Holy Vale; followed by a visit to the tasting room, overlooking the winery, to sample some of Robert’s favourite wines, paired with delicious canapés, freshly prepared by his team at the Star Castle.
During the summer months, visitors to the vineyard can enjoy a locally caught lobster lunch – one of the most sustainable and delicious feasts you’ll ever enjoy.
“Every morning, weather and seasons permitting, I take my boat out to bring in the catch of lobsters that are served in the Star Castle restaurants and at the vineyard. At Holy Vale, they are served with potatoes and salad grown no more than a mile from the vineyard and washed down with crisp wines produced from vines just an arm’s stretch away.”