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.”
Nearly 7,000 in Wales sign up for UK’s biggest ever plastics investigation
THE BIG PLASTIC COUNT, the UK’s biggest ever investigation into household plastic waste, kicks off today.
Over 140,000 are planning to take part across the country, including schools, Westminster MPs, community groups, businesses, families and individuals. 6,804 people in Wales have signed up, including nine MPs and 80 teachers who will be taking part with their classes.
The Big Plastic Count is a collaboration between Everyday Plastic and Greenpeace UK.
Celebrities including Chris Packham, Joanna Lumley and Bonnie Wright are also taking part.
94 cross-party Westminster MPs, including 9 from Wales, 3,500 school classes from all over the UK and People’s Postcode Lottery have also signed up.
The UK produces more plastic waste per person than any other country except the USA.
In 2018, the country generated 5.2 million tonnes of plastic waste, enough to fill Wembley Stadium six times over.
The UK also exports vast quantities of plastic waste abroad, as highlighted last year by Greenpeace’s Wasteminster viral animation.
The Big Plastic Count will reveal how much plastic packaging waste is leaving UK homes and what happens to it after we throw it away.
This will provide a national snapshot of our plastic waste problem, filling a crucial evidence gap and showing the UK government and supermarkets that they must act to tackle the problem.
Chris Packham said: “The UK is one of the worst plastic polluters in the world. Our broken recycling system doesn’t work so instead of dealing with our plastic waste ourselves, we send vast quantities of it overseas where it’s out of sight and out of mind for us, but destroying nature and harming people elsewhere.”
“The Big Plastic Count is such an exciting project. It will, for the first time, tell ordinary people what happens to their plastic waste after we throw it away, and we hope it will force the government to take action and address the plastic waste crisis.”
Chris Thorne, plastics campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “The biggest ever investigation into the UK’s plastic waste is officially underway.”
“We’re delighted that so many people across Wales have signed up, making clear once again that the public is concerned about their plastic waste, and want to see genuine action from the government to turn the tide on our plastics crisis.”
“That means an immediate end to us dumping our waste on other countries like Turkey, and legally binding targets that actually tackle the plastic problem at source.”
Daniel Webb of Everyday Plastic said: “I decided to count all of my plastic waste for a whole year back in 2017. Doing so helped me to understand my personal plastic footprint, which completely shocked me and drove me to begin campaigning for change. ”
The results from The Big Plastic Count will show us what’s really happening to our plastic waste, at a national scale, and inspire thousands of participants to demand real action to stem the tide of plastic packaging.
“This really is a crucial moment in the struggle against the plastic problem.”
“We hope the results of The Big Plastic Count will persuade the government, supermarkets and big brands to take bold steps to tackle the plastic crisis once and for all, which is extremely exciting, perhaps even revolutionary.”
Every participant will record the different types of plastic packaging waste they throw away, and submit their results. This will generate a national picture of our plastic waste, demonstrating the scale of the problem and putting even more pressure on the government to act.
The unique methodology behind the Big Plastic Count was developed by Everyday Plastic’s founder, Daniel Webb.
He collected every piece of his plastic waste for a year, and worked with a scientific researcher to turn this into a robust methodology which the public can now use to discover what happens to their plastic waste when they throw it away.
Surveying by YouGov for Greenpeace UK found that while over three-quarters (77%) of people in the UK recycle plastic products to reduce their waste, almost as many (75%) don’t know what happens to their plastic recycling after they throw it away.
Greenpeace UK and Everyday Plastic will release the results of the survey as soon as they have been processed. Campaigners hope these results will push the UK government to reduce single-use plastic by 50% by 2025, ban all plastic waste exports and implement a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for recycling and reuse.
New Quay RNLI receives donation from holiday park association
RECENTLY, New Quay RNLI received a kind donation of £342.50 from the Schooner Park Residents Association.
Mr Paul Lewis came to the lifeboat station to present a cheque to Lifeboat Operations Manager, Roger Couch.
Mr Couch said, “We would like to thank the Schooner Park Residents Association for their kind donation to New Quay RNLI. The RNLI is a charity and relies on fundraising and donations. Our volunteers provide a 24 hour search and rescue service and are independent of the Coastguard and government.
“If you would like to donate to New Quay Lifeboat Station, please go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/new-quayrnli.”
Theatr Felinfach celebrates 50 years!
THERE’S big excitement at Theatr Felinfach this year as the theatre celebrates its 50th Birthday in May. Celebrations will continue throughout the year with a variety of activities and events.
Dwynwen Lloyd Llywelyn, Head of Theatr Felin-fach said: “There are many reasons to celebrate. It’s not just about celebrating the theatre’s anniversary and the incredible collaboration between communities and the theatre, across half a century. It’s also a year of celebrating coming together again after such a length of isolation and being closed. This celebratory year brings opportunities to celebrate and be creative, once again.”
To kick start the celebrations in style there will be a special evening of music in Theatr Felinfach’s 50th Celebration Gig with none other than Pwdin Reis and Bwca on May 13 at 7:30pm. You won’t be able to stay still all night!
It’s hard to believe that four years has passed since Pwdin Reis burst onto the scene like a blast of fresh air and the good news is that the band which includes Betsan Evans, Neil Rosser, Norman Roberts and Rob Gillespie are back gigging after two years.
If you’re looking for something different and fancy some Welsh rockabilly, why not try a bit of Pwdin Reis!
Bwca was established in 2017 by Steff Rees from Aberystwyth as a solo music project but after a period of performing on his own he formed a band in October 2018 to develop Bwca to its full potential. The band has grown from strength to strength performing lively and catchy songs in gigs and festivals all over the country from Dolgellau to Bala, and Swansea to Cardiff.
Betsan Evans, main vocalist of the band Pwdin Reis said: “Theatr Felinfach is a special place and I have many memories of attending workshops and watching shows and pantomimes. Being invited to perform at the theatre’s 50th celebration evening is a big honour and we as a band can’t wait to perform on the night.”
The play ‘West’ will be performed at Theatr Felinfach on May 27 at 7:30pm. ‘West’ will be touring again before it returns to America at the Hollywood Festival in LA.
Written by Owen Thomas, the award-winning writer of ‘Grav’, ‘Carwyn’ and ‘The Wood. It is directed by Gareth John Bale, the Welsh actor and director whose credits include ‘Grav’ and ‘Nye and Jennie’ and Gwenllian Higginson, best known to Welsh theatre audiences for ‘Gwlad yr Asyn’, ‘Miss Julie’ and ‘Merched Caerdydd’.
The play explores the lives of two Welsh people who fall in love and decide to leave Wales in order to build a new life in the New World. It details the hardships and adventures they face, focusing primarily on the theme of immigration.
Looking forward to the summer, Theatr Arad Goch’s summer show ‘Twm Siôn Cati’ by Jeremy Turner will be at Theatr Felinfach in June. If you’re looking for a summer School trip or want to take your family and friends to the theatre, performances are on Monday 27 at 1pm and Tuesday 28 at 10am and 1pm.
Twm’s story comes alive in a production that takes you on a trip to the dangerous period of the 16th century with songs, sword fighting and laughter. With the National Eisteddfod visiting Tregaron this summer, what better time to hear the story of one of the area’s most iconic characters! Suitable for children aged 7+.
The National Eisteddfod will also be on the doorstep as Ceredigion welcomes the festival between 30 July and 6 August. Theatr Felinfach looks forward to holding various activities and performances during the week.
If you’re aged between 7 – 18 years old, Theatr Felinfach are looking for new members to join the Performing School to create a summer show for the Ceredigion National Eisteddfod. The sessions start on May 5. Get in touch for more information on how to join for free.
For tickets and more information, contact the box office on 01570 470697 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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