Found just to the north of Monmouth on the banks of the River Monnow is one of a growing number of vineyards in Wales that are benefitting from the dryer and warmer summer months. Ancre Hill Vineyard is found on the opposite sides of the Monnow Valley and exports across the globe.
The much smaller independent vineyard at Monnow Valley is one of the most easterly vineyards in Wales, just outside Monmouth. The grapevines themselves are grown on the slopes of the river Monnow, making use of the south facing views and maximising the sunlight.
Whilst it is a leading Welsh vineyard, and first established in 1979, the vineyard is not open to the public. Sales to the trade provide the majority of their business, but wine sales to individuals are available by prior appointment. Monnow Valley Vineyards produces both still and sparkling white wines for supermarket and wine trade outlets. One of their more popular lines is their sparkling white wine, which cannot be named Champagne as growing grapes in south Wales means they definitely haven’t been harvested and pressed in the famous region of France!
The first vines were planted on the farm in 1979. The steep, sloping site overlooks the river Monnow and the exposure to the sun is ideal. Taking up only a part of the 81 hectare farm, the wine produced onsite has become an important aspect of the farm’s earnings, now taking up as much time as the rest of the farm. Business partners Roy Wilson and Michael Clarke handle the vineyards growing and affairs directly.
People interested in finding out more about Monnow Valley can call ahead to book private vineyard tours, tastings and purchases. However, the bulk of the vineyard’s business is to trade, so these options truly are by appointment only.
It is probably best to visit on a sunny day (if possible) to get the best out of the vineyard tour as well as enjoy the wider views of the Monnow Valley. Being that the vineyards are so close to Monmouth itself, there are a number of B&Bs nearby for people who may want to make a short vacation around a vineyard tour. Peter Baker, owner of Monnow Valley Vineyard in Monmouth, when interviews about his products by Wales Online said that “We don’t try to rival Champagne. Our product is different. It’s not as dry and it’s fruitier. I think its better. Champagne is vastly overrated and often vastly overpriced. People are beginning to realise the value of a home grown Welsh product.”