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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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Business

Update for Multi-purpose Community Centres following First Minister announcement

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TODAY, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that multi-purpose community centres including community centres, village halls, church halls and other community facilities can reopen from 03 May. This decision has been brought forward from 17 May.

Welsh Government announced changes during today’s briefing, and the guidance for multi-purpose community venues is being updated to ensure compliance with developments in regulations, including greater emphasis on ventilation. Welsh Government continue to advise authorities that the regulations on social gathering will still prevent a number of activities from taking place at community venues, and only organised activities for up to 15 people will be permitted.

The panel strongly advise you to make every effort to carry out your activity digitally or make contact by phone. If not, consider whether it is possible to hold your activity outdoors, in-line with Welsh Government guidance. Holding your activity indoors should be considered as a last resort. If this is the only option and it’s essential that you meet then please keep the session brief and involve as few people as possible, with all necessary procedures and protocols in place.

Those responsible for community activities should remember to;

  • maintain a social distance of 2 meters.
  • wear a face covering in indoor public spaces.
  • regularly wash your hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer provided.   

A multi-agency panel has been set up to advise and support around the safe and proportionate reopening of facilities in-line with national guidance. The panel has been created under Ceredigion’s Public Services Board Sub Group; Understanding our Communities. Leading on the development of the group is Ceredigion Association of Voluntary Organisations (CAVO) and Ceredigion County Council in partnership with Heddlu Dyfed Powys Police and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service. The panel includes representation from Health & Safety, Environmental Health and Community Safety.

The panel encourages anyone responsible for community facilities to seek advice to ensure that arrangements are safe and secure and that compliance is in-line with national guidance. Prior to re-opening any community facility those managing centres must ensure that they are ‘Covid-Free Zones’.

The panel will aim to host another briefing session on April 28 at 13:30 to support those in charge of community venues with the latest developments. If you would like to join the next briefing session, please register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cyfleusterau-cymunedol-ceredigion-community-facilities-information-session-tickets-152071456821?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch or get in touch via the contact details below.

The multi-agency panel will continue to support and advise Community Groups and Organisations, and questions or information requests can be submitted to the group which meets on a weekly basis via CAVO on gen@cavo.org.uk or by phone on 01570 423232.

Together, we can keep Ceredigion safe.

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Community

Ceredigion Museum’s digital storytelling celebrates LGBTQ+ history month

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February marks LGBTQ+ History month and Ceredigion Museum has been working with local organisation Aberration to unveil and record fascinating and untold stories of Aberystwyth.

These stories form part of the museum’s ‘It Happened in Aber’ project, which will allow people to listen to the untold stories that have shaped Aberystwyth.

This project was made possible thanks to the ’15-minute heritage’ funding, a partnership between The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service.

Carrie Canham, museum curator, said: “For too long the LGBTQ+ community has been marginalised, or even completely concealed, in history. Ceredigion Museum is keen to share the stories that have lurked in the shadows, to celebrate the diversity and rich LGBTQ+ heritage of Aberystwyth with pride.”

The LGBTQ+ stories researched and recorded with by Jane Hoy, of Aberration, include historic and modern-day characters from the town, including famous academics, poets, mariners, dancers and a spy!

“We are delighted to be working so closely with Ceredigion Museum contributing to ‘queering up’ the museum with lively local stories and events,” Jane.

Aberystwyth has certainly played its part in developing the LGBTQ+ community in West Wales and Sarah and Rosie, founders of Aberystwyth’s ‘Wrecked’ nightclub for women, have documented their fond memories of their venue in the town: “It became a fun and safe haven for lesbians who travelled there from all corners of the county”.

Ceredigion Museum staff and volunteers will be continuing to document stories linked to the LGBTQ+ community, as well as stories linked to specific locations in the town, until April.

From May onwards, The ‘It Happened in Aber’ stories will be available to enjoy in podcast format on the museum’s website as well as forming a digital walking tour of the town, allowing people to listen and enjoy the stories whilst walking around the locations in Aberystwyth.

Councillor Catherine Hughes said: “It’s fantastic that Ceredigion Museum is providing us with an opportunity to enjoy the history and the important contribution of the LGBTQ+ community in Aberystwyth. This is such an important project to document our local heritage. We look forward to listening to all the stories.”

If you can’t wait until the summer, join this years’ virtual Aberration – Between the Lines event on Friday, February 26 from 7pm, when the ladies of ‘Wrecked’ will be sharing some of their stories!

For further information or to share your untold story, contact Sarah Morton, Ceredigion Museum’s sustainability officer, at Sarah.Morton@ceredigion.gov.uk.

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Business

Aberaeron takeaway closed for ignoring coronavirus restrictions

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A Premises Closure Notice has been issued to Paradise Pizza, Regent Street, Aberaeron due to repeated non-compliance with the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No.5) (Wales) Regulations 2020.

The business was issued with a premises improvement notice on 15th January 2021. It was required to take reasonable measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including the need to ensure that staff use personal protective equipment and face coverings. However, officers have since witnessed staff failing to wear face coverings on multiple occasions in contravention of their advice.

Monitoring inspections have shown that the majority of Ceredigion‘s retail premises are complying with the restrictions placed on them during the pandemic. Ceredigion County Council’s Public Protection team will continue to take action against businesses who fail to comply with the coronavirus restrictions. Whilst non-compliant businesses will usually receive advice and guidance, serious or persistent breaches will be dealt with by means of closure powers, fixed penalty notices or prosecution.

This takeaway must remain closed for 28 days, or until Public Protection officers are satisfied that the alleged non-compliance has been addressed.

Premises improvement and closure notices are required to be published by law.

The full closure notice can be found on Ceredigion County Council’s website, under Improvement and Closure Notices: http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/resident/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-improvement-closure-and-direction-notices/

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