A dozen friends and family snipped away with secateurs filling buckets with dark Rondo grapes, some of them already turning towards raisins. Full buckets were emptied into stackable boxes and these in turn loaded onto a trailer pulled between the rows by quad bike. Four tonnes of Rondo, enough to make 3,200 bottles. This Welsh contribution will go a small way to reversing the global decline in wine production over recent years.
The high risk decision to create a vineyard this far north has been vindicated! With hindsight Richard said he would have made more use of Rondo in preference to other varieties that struggle to ripen with our growing conditions. As for the terroir, Richard was stumped for the Welsh word, but said the glacial nature of the valley had deposited a mineral rich, well draining soil at his end of the valley. Light coloured fragments of slate had been used as a weed suppressing mulch at the base of the vines but more importantly the slate reflects the sunlight onto the underside of the grapes as well as holding warmth like a storage heater.
Bottles are due back in April and are likely to sell out fast. Buy early or be disappointed!