In a unique location above the River Severn just outside Newtown lies the Penarth Estate Vineyard that combines the growing of classical grape varieties with the ‘traditional’ Welsh varieties.
Bernard and Tanya Herbert planted their first vines in 1999, and the acreage was increased 2 years later, so that all 10 acres of vines are now bearing fruit. Varieties that are grown include German and French varieties such as Madeleine Angevine. However, the majority of the vines are the classical ‘sparkling wine grapes’- Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. These are vines that the experts believe cannot be grown outdoors in Wales- however the health of the grapes suggests that the experts may be wrong.
Given that the Severn Vale around Newtown is sheltered, with westerly winds warming as they descend from Plynlimon, the site has many advantages, including adjacency to main roads through the region.
The vineyard has no winery, and wines are being produced by Three Choirs at Newent. A still Pinot Noir 2005, a Pinot Chardonnay and a brace of sparkling wines are currently being sold, both in London restaurants and at the new ‘Feast of Food’ delicatessen, owned by renowned Welsh cook Lavinia Vaughan in nearby Caersws.
The vineyard shop was opened for the pre-Christmas season and sells hampers, olives and local cheeses in addition to the wines.
Plans are in place to open a picnic site on the estate next year as the estate is becoming popular as a tour destination. These tours include parties of children from local schools come to witness the production of the only outdoor grapes in Powys. In addition to its viticultural activities, the estate maintains Egyptian horses. The straight Egyptian Arabian breeding program is aimed at producing horses of a classic desert type, with delightful temperament, excellent conformation and athletic movement. The estate site is excellent for horses, providing meadows by the river as well as hillside land. After training, the horses were entered in shows during 2007.
Guided tours also available