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Vineyards raise a glass for Welsh Wine Week

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Welsh Vineyard Association prepare for Welsh Wine Week: There has been a surge in popularity of Welsh wine both locally and internationally

AT THE END of the month, vineyards across Wales will be raising a glass of wine to celebrate Welsh Wine Week, which is taking place between Saturday (May 28) and Sunday June 5.

The worldwide reputation of Welsh vineyards is flourishing, with many becoming considerably more renowned for their wine-producing excellence.

There are currently 17 vineyards in Wales, 13 of which are members of the Welsh Vineyard Association (WVA).

The newest addition to Wales’ vineyards is the Gwinllan Conwy in North Viniculture in Wales in which business is ‘booming’.

Robb Merchant, Owner of the White Castle Vineyard in Abergavenny and newly instated Chairman of the WVA, planted his first vines with his wife Nicola in 2009. He said he was amazed at how his new enterprise has taken off in the past seven years.

Robb said: “We harvested our first grapes in 2011 and, so far, the business has far exceeded anything we anticipated.

“There are now vineyards right across Wales, from north to south to east to west, and many offer tours and tasting during the year. We hope Welsh Wine Week will encourage more people to visit them.

“Traditionally, Wales may not have been viewed as a wineproducing country, but the past 15 years or so have seen huge strides in the quality and quantity.

“I’m sure visitors will be surprised by the variety of flavours produced in Wales – there is a flavour for everyone.

“We are also looking forward to working with the National Eisteddfod when it comes to Abergavenny in August.”

Robb and Nicola also say that they are looking forward to welcoming visitors to their vineyard for Welsh Wine Week and, like many other WVA members, they will be offering special tours, tastings and offers.

Welsh wine is enjoying a fruitful time, with a surge in success both at home and on the international scene.

A number of wines have successfully competed with their continental counterparts on the global stage, such as Ancre Hill Estates whose 2008 vintage was voted best sparkling wine in the world at the Bollicine del Mondo International Competition in Italy in 2012.

Along with increasing critical appreciation and commercial success, interest in producing wine in Wales is growing too with a number of new vineyards being planted in recent years.

The last decade has seen a growth in the number of vineyards in Wales and a surge in production. Welsh vineyards now produce around 100,000 bottles of wine each year, and a number of vineyards are currently expanding in acreage and planting new vines.

Among them are Llaethliw near Aberaeron, where owners Richard and Siw Evans have planted an additional eight and a half acres, and biodynamic producer Ancre Hill has added a further 11 acres.

Also after a period of dormancy, Bryn Ceiliog Vineyard at Leckwith in the Vale of Glamorgan will be back in production this year.

While Tintern-based vineyard, Parva Farm will be supplying Marks and Spencer again this year with its Tintern Parva Bacchus 2014 dry white wine.

Wales will further cement its position as a burgeoning wine producing region when it hosts the UK wine industry’s annual national awards – the English & Welsh Wine of the Year Competition.

The judging will take place at Llanerch Vineyard next month between Wednesday June 22 and Friday June 24. This will mark the first time the competition has been held in Wales.

“Welsh wine really is among the best in the world,” Robb concluded, “It is an exciting time for Welsh vineyards, and we hope Welsh Wine Week will help bring our wines to the attention of an even wider audience.”

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Community

Time given to develop Parc Natur Penglais

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New steps: At Parc Natur Penglais

VOLUNTEERS, including students, have given around 500 hours of their time to develop Parc Natur Penglais.

Along with support from Ceredigion County Council, the Group have built around 100 steps in 5 different places which has made the park a great place to walk, play and enjoy around a number of safe paths.

Councillor Mark Strong said: “Knowing that we have the support of the local community makes such a difference to peoples’ enthusiasm and having the grant from Aberystwyth Town Council, Cambrian News and Tesco made it possible. Volunteers can make a relatively small sum of money go long way.”

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​RSPCA aim for Christmas number one​

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'Stars' by Lucy Ellie​: Help it get to number one

M​USIC fans across Wales can help the RSPCA secure the Christmas number one slot, and provide vital support for animals in need across the country.

The animal welfare charity has thrown its hat into the ring to claim the festive chart accolade – as up-and-coming singer Lucy Ellie covers Simply Red’s hit song ​’​Stars​’​ in aid of the RSPCA.

‘Stars’ is the soundtrack to the charity’s ‘Kindness at Christmas’ video, which has already gone viral with over ​two million views online across a variety of platforms.

The tear-jerking video tells the story of Woody the Christmas toy pup who who is thrown out with the rubbish before being rescued and taken in for care by the RSPCA.

Proceeds from the single are being donated to the RSPCA to help in their work rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming thousands of animals every year.

RSPCA Cymru is again bracing itself for a busy festive period. In December 2016 and January 2017 alone, in Wales, 5,932 incidents were reported to the RSPCA – with 141 of these on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Lucy Ellie Cooper, who works at the charity, said: “This was a lovely opportunity for me to combine my two loves – animals and music.

“Outside of my job at the RSPCA I am a country music singer and songwriter, so when the chance came up to record such a fantastic and well-known song for the charity’s Christmas video, I jumped at it. I really hope people will take Woody’s story into their hearts and support the RSPCA this winter.”

You can help the RSPCA rescue, rehabilitate and re-home animals in desperate need of care, and support the charity’s ‘kindness’ campaign online

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Charity games raise over £2000

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Team Tesco: Raised over £2000 through three football games

NOT all heroes wear capes and Tesco Aberystwyth’s very own Community Champion, Natasha Worrall has proven this raising a staggering £2,096.27 for local and national charities.

Natasha, the brainchild behind the charity football events, came up with the idea first off by challenging Tesco’s neighbours, Marks and Spencer’s, to a football match, she quickly set her powers to work and contacted Aberystwyth Football club who were more than happy to help and allowed use of the pitch.

The Big Day arrived, there was a lot of tension and passion on the pitch that night, it was more than just about winning a match it was the status, the pride and most of all bringing people together to raise money for three great causes; Diabetes UK, British Heart Foundation and Mind. Hundreds of supporters braved the cold October evening to support the players and Tesco stole the show with a 7-1 victory and an amazing £607 was raised.

Natasha now had a taste of success under her cape and wanted to really get this event of the ground and challenged supermarket rivals, Morrisons to a match! The response for Tesco vs Morrisons was just what Natasha wanted and a November date was set.

Tesco now had experience in their boots and both teams had everything to play for. Victory once again went to Tesco who pipped Morrisons at the post and clawed back to a 5-4 victory raising a further £648.15 for Diabetes UK, British Heart Foundation and Clic Sargent.

In true football fashion Natasha wanted a hat trick but could Team Tesco achieve this? Last Sunday (Dec 3) seemed the perfect opportunity and the opponents who were up for the challenge came from Bronglais Hospital and their chosen charity Pila Pala, Llwyn yr Eos. What a match! And what great team to take victory, Hywel Dda 2 – Tesco – 0. A rematch could certainly be on the cards especially as they raised the biggest amount ever of £841.12.

Behind every success there is always great team and working with Natasha and the players a number of local heroes who helped, Ruth’s kitchen provided heroic meals for all the players for a £1 donation, Aberystwyth women’s Team loaned their footballs, the Referees, linesmen, stewards, security, first aiders and ball boys and girls who all donated their time free of charge.

Team Tesco are looking for more opponents to play and raise even more money for local charities, if you are interested please call into Tesco store and see Natasha.

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