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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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Council recognised for its work on domestic violence

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In the last year nearly 2,880 people in Carmarthenshire reported being a victim of domestic abuse.

CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has once again been recognised for its work to combat domestic abuse.

It has achieved the White Ribbon UK accredited status for the second time running and departments will continue to work to raise awareness around domestic abuse and to contribute to ending male violence against women.

In the last year nearly 2,880 people in Carmarthenshire reported as being a victim of domestic abuse.

The White Ribbon campaign is a global initiative that encourages people, especially men and boys, to individually and collectively take action and change the behaviour and culture that leads to abuse and violence.

Domestic abuse affects both sexes with the largest number of violent incidents involving men against women. 

To show its commitment County Hall in Carmarthen will be lit up in purple on White Ribbon Day on November 25 and the White Ribbon flags will be flying in council buildings at Llanelli and Ammanford.

A message will also be printed on staff payslips signposting them to support channels.

Carmarthenshire County Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Rural Affairs and Chair of the Safer Communities Partnership, Cllr Ann Davies, said: 

“I am pleased that we were again successful in receiving accreditation from the campaign and recognising the work we have done and also plan to do going forward as part of our commitment to ending domestic violence. The figures in the last 12 months are still too high and that is those that have come forward to seek support. The pandemic has seen a significant rise in the number of referrals so it is vital that we do whatever we can to encourage people not to remain silent and speak out and seek support.”

Support and advice for anyone affected by domestic abuse is available by calling Live Fear Free on 0808 80 10 800.

For local advice you can contact Threshold (Llanelli) on 01554 752 422; Calan DVS (Ammanford) on 01269 597 474 Carmarthen Domestic Abuse Service (CarmDAS) on 01267 238 410 who provide support to both men and women 9am-5pm.

More information on the campaign can be found on the White Ribbon website

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Let’s get digital – Ceredigital

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Internet of Things

A NEW section, ‘Ceredigital’ dedicated to digital services, is now available on Ceredigion County Council’s website.

Ceredigital aims to provide clear information upon how digital technology can be used to support business growth, the economy, the quality of life for residents, tourism and the environment.

It covers a range of work and projects that the Council is currently involved with to improve the provision of digital technology across the county.

Information on the following services is included in the new section:

  • Broadband
  • Mobile
  • Digital Skills
  • Public Wi-Fi

It also includes information on the creation of a LoRaWAN network that the Council has been creating across the county which will accelerate the ‘Internet of Things’ innovation within the region; an open network used to improve business efficiencies.

Councillor Clive Davies, Digital Champion for Ceredigion County Council said: “Having access to affordable and reliable high-speed broadband and mobile connectivity has quickly become essential for everyone. The last two years have seen more people working from home than ever before, and the only way many of us have kept in contact with friends and family is through online catch-ups. It can be confusing and time consuming when you have connectivity issues and don’t know what support is out there.

“I’m very happy to announce that this new section is available. This resource can assist residents and businesses in finding out how to improve connectivity, funding that is available to do this, brushing up on digital skills, as well as providing details upon fixed and wireless projects that are currently being undertaken with Ceredigion.

With a county-wide LoRaWAN Internet of Things network, the largest in Wales, now is the time to focus on data innovation. This is no longer the gift of large organisations, or so called “Smart Cities”, we have the solid foundations of a rural smart network available right now, that can enable data driven decision making to take place right here in Ceredigion, enabling efficiency savings, and new product offering and opportunities as we recover from COVID-19”.

So, if you or your business is not reaching its digital potential for one reason or other, head over to Ceredigital to see what options are available to you right now.”

The new Ceredigital section can be found here: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/business/ceredigital.

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Helping you to make a difference in your community

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Ceredigion Rural

THE CYNNAL y Cardi Local Action Group is launching a new Grant Fund, as part of the Cynnal y Cardi LEADER scheme, which will support small scale LEADER activity in Ceredigion.

The fund will provide small-scale financial revenue to support pilot projects, feasibility studies, facilitation, networking activities and training and mentoring ideas. Applications are welcomed from organisations in the third, public and private sectors. They must meet the criteria and priorities of the Local Action Group.

The Grant Fund will focus on the following priorities from the Cynnal y Cardi Local Development Strategy:

  • supporting activity with the aim of strengthening opportunities for developing Ceredigion’s circular economy
  • supporting early intervention for the development of pre-commercial activity with the aim of developing entrepreneurial activity
  • strengthening community resilience activity with a focus on the role of Town and Community Councils in supporting and engaging with their communities
  • developing opportunities for re-engaging people and reinvigorating community activity following COVID-19 and piloting innovative uses for community facilities

The Cynnal y Cardi LEADER Grant Fund, which is administered by Ceredigion County Council, is supported through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Councillor Rhodri Evans, Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Economy and Regeneration, said: “We understand that COVID-19 has made the past two years a tough time for the county, and in light of the pandemic, the priorities for Ceredigion’s Local Development Strategy have been reviewed in September 2020. This new grant scheme provides opportunities for us to tackle the issues and build on the opportunities following COVID-19 within our communities in order to strengthen our resilience. I urge you to take full advantage of this opportunity.”

The first closing date for submitting your applications is 17 January 2022. Submissions are welcome in Welsh or English. You will need to discuss your ideas with the team. Contact the team by email at cynnalycardi@ceredigion.gov.uk or visit www.cynnalycardi.org.uk for more information.

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