Tuesday, 12 April 2011

West Country vineyard trails with Helpful Holidays…

The mellow climate and sunny slopes of the West Country are proving to be wonderful resources for viticulture. Amid Devon and Cornwall’s green, rolling hills are lush vineyards, bursting with grapes for whites, reds, rosés and fizzies. We believe these award-winning wines deserve to be enjoyed and savoured at a leisurely pace, in keeping with the slow, energy-restoring pace of life on our peninsula.

That’s why we’ve created an interactive guide to some of the best vineyards in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset for you to visit whilst enjoying your holiday with us. We’ve around 290 holiday cottages within easy reach of a vineyard.

In ‘foodie’ south Devon, nestled on a bend of the serpentine river Dart, you’ll find the Sharpham vineyard, famous for its wine and cheese. Or why not drop into Devon’s oldest vineyard, Yearlstone, close to the 18th century Bickleigh Mill beauty spot, and have a bite to eat whilst sampling some fantastic wines?

Eastcott, in a sheltered vale north of Dartmoor, is a young vineyard with an award-winning winery offering guided tours and tastings. To the east are the small vineyards of Willhayne and Highcroft, both producing some very good wines. Near the cathedral city of Exeter is Manstree Vineyard where you can pick up a bottle of great wine and pick your own seasonal soft fruit, and just south of Exeter, near Powderham Castle, is Kenton Vineyard which is quickly gaining a reputation for excellence across its range of wines. The cellar for Pebblebed Vineyards is in nautical Topsham – a great place to pick up a sophisticated rosé! Further south along the coast road to Teignmouth is Old Walls Vineyard where good food and great wines can be sampled.

Respect for traditional vineyard practices, together with a modern approach to winemaking, earns Cornwall the reputation as another leading county in the production of English wines. The sun-drenched slopes of the Camel Valley Vineyard make it, in the opinion of Matthew Jukes, the acclaimed wine writer, “without a doubt, the number one winery in the country,” producing world-class wines; Camel Valley achieved the award for best sparkling rosé in the world at the 2010 International Wine Challenge.

Polgoon Vineyard in Penzance, created from a derelict farm, is fast achieving national acclaim and welcomes visitors to inspect the vines, enjoy a talk on winery operations and, of course, sample the end result!

Everyone booking a break with Helpful Holidays in 2011 will receive a £40 discount voucher off a case from Naked Wines (minimum spend £79.99). The online retailer sources the most talented, smaller, independent producers and invests in their viticulture ensuring top quality wines at affordable prices.

In addition, for this week only, we have ten £40 vouchers to give away to people who comment, like or vote on our Facebook page. We’re asking for your opinions on wine – whether it’s West Country, Bordeaux, Rioja or New World. We’ll put everyone into a hat and pick ten winners at 9am on Monday 18th April - so visit our page and add your comments for a chance to win!

If you’d like to chat about a particular cottage or location so you can visit the vineyards, give us a call and we’ll guide you to the perfect place. We recommend you also contact the vineyards when planning your trip to confirm directions and opening dates and times. And, at the end of your trip, don’t forget a case or two to take back home as a souvenir of your West Country break to share with family and friends!

Call us on 01647 433593 or visit www.helpfulholidays.com/wine.