08 Apr The Royal Visit
FIRST WINES FROM THE ISLES OF SCILLY’S NEW VINEYARD PRESENTED TO THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL DURING ISLAND VISIT
Above l-r: Robert Francis (right) gives HRH The Duchess of Cornwall a guided tour of the vineyard; wine tasting at HolyVale Vineyard; and Robert Francis (centre) presents HRH The Duchess of Cornwall with wines from the HolyVale Vineyard.
The Duchess of Cornwall had an opportunity to try some of the finest wines from the Isles of Scilly’s newest vineyard during the Royal visit of The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall on Tuesday 21st July. The visit to the Star Castle’s HolyVale Vineyard also provided an opportunity for proud wine maker, Robert Francis, to present five bottles from his very first harvest to The Duchess, fulfilling a promise made at Highgrove to HRH The Duke of Cornwall several years ago, when the 7,000 Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris vines were newly planted.
Mr Francis was thrilled to have an opportunity to present the new wines to Their Royal Highnesses, saying “The first bottle of each wine was set aside for this very occasion and I am delighted that we have been able to present it so soon, just a month after the first bottling. It was such a pleasure to welcome Her Royal Highness to the vineyard. She genuinely appeared delighted with the setting of the winery and was very complimentary about all the wines, too, which was wonderful”.
The vineyard has been described by world-renowned wine expert, Michael Broadbent, as “one of the most beautiful vineyard sites in the world” and, as such, it made a fitting setting for the visit by The Duchess of Cornwall, who is also patron of the United Kingdom Vineyards Association. Planted in the spring of 2009, the vineyard is made up of parcels of land situated across St Mary’s. The grape varieties, which are more often grown in warmer climes, were chosen over the normal, mostly German varieties that have traditionally been grown in the UK. Robert Francis, owner of the vineyard and of the Star Castle Hotel on St Mary’s, is committed to producing the most special wines, even though working with Pinot Noir is especially challenging. Five fine wines have been produced this year – Pinot Noir Classic, Pinot Noir Reserve, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir Rose.
Also present was renowned Austrian wine maker, Willi Opitz, who has provided support from the early stages of the wine making process and has helped to ensure that the wines are of the finest quality.