|Grapegrower & Winemaker||Wine & Viticulture Journal||Wine Industry Directory||
||Daily Wine News||
Cornwall’s Camel Valley sets Sparkling pace in the UK
Name: Bob Lindo
By John Kennedy
'We spent five years with our hoes planting grapevines to the amusement of our neighbours who thought we were ruining a good sheep field,' Bob Lindo founder of Camel Valley Vineyards in Cornwall in the UK reports.
Now 20 years on Camel Valley rates about fourth by volume of production in the UK's expanding grape and wine industry which is mainly focussed on Sparkling wine production.
Camel Valley's Sparkling wines are arguably at the top of the tree winning amongst a multiplicity of recent awards, the UK's 2007 Wine of the Year Competition plus a swag of others.
Back in 2005, the Camel Valley Brut outpointed 250 Champagnes to win the International Wine Competition and was the only Sparkling from outside the Champagne region to gain a gold medal.
Bob Lindo was also recently awarded a gold medal for Outstanding Services to Tourism in Cornwall's own Tourism Champions Awards, the third time he has been so acknowledged. He is held in similar high regard to his fellow Cornishman Rick Stein, both being considered as regional icons of food and wine.
As his website at www.camelvalleyvineyard.com notes 'we are proud to be pushing the boundaries in English winemaking. Our methods combine time-honoured practices to produce the best possible grapes with state-of-the art equipment and a forward thinking approach.'
The leading international wine writers reward Camel Valley's Sparkling and white wines, receiving regular acclamation from UK's leading wine reviewers of the ilk of Jancis Robinson, Matthew Jukes and Jane McQuitty.
Lindo, 59, is an ex-RAF pilot who admits he went into grapegrowing 25 years ago without any experience and even worse, only limited resources, so the venture had to be successful financially. But he now heads up a family owned wine project which is both vital and successful and has really been self-financing as it has grown in size and complexity.
And now his son Sam has been inducted into the business as winemaker in waiting after taking out the title of UK Winemaker of the Year for 2007.
So where is Camel Valley? Well it's an idyllic patch of rural England near Bodmin and about 10kms inland from the northern coast of Cornwall or about midway across the Cornish peninsula. The Camel River and its valley leads down to the sea so there is a maritime effect and the site has good air circulation although Lindo admits to two frost experiences in the past 20 years, including one vintage wipe out.
The vineyard now has about seven hectares under vine on its exposed southern slope with another block planned to be planted in the near future which will bring it up to its likely full scale at about 10 hectares.
The Sparkling wines and Rose are made from Pinot Noir while a still white wine comes from the Reichensteiner and Schoenburger varietals. The Camel Valley red is produced from selected handpicked Triomphe, Dornfelder and Pinot Noir grapes.
While Camel Valley started out with a fairly obscure collection of mainly German wine grape varieties Lindo has now settled on Pinot Noir as its preferred varietal. He said that in the 2006 vintage it was a perfect year climatically and his home vineyard produced about 50 tonnes of grapes off four hectares while he would regard about 'a tonne to the acre' as the more normal experience.
Camel Valley has comprehensive winery infrastructure and aims to handle about 200 tonnes of grape crush each vintage. This includes fruit processed for a small number of growers with about 70 tonnes for the Camel Valley wine labels.
'I also have a small number of select growers in the UK who I buy fruit from. It's all done on a handshake and I typically pay in the region of 1500 pounds but in 2007 when grapes were in short supply we broke the record and paid 3000 pounds a tonne for quality Pinot grapes,' Lindo says.
From a marketing aspect Lindo says he relies on booming visitor numbers. 'Our cellar door has an expansive outdoor area, plus the vineyard adjoins a popular walking trail. We get about 25,000 visitors over the summer and we ensure they all have a good experience and go home with at least a couple of bottles.
'Every Wednesday evening Camel Valley offers a wine tutorial class which regularly attracts another 100 or so visitors to the cellar door and we are currently selling everything we produce.'
Lindo adds that he doesn't really have a retail marketing program except that his cellar door purchasers are increasingly asking their local retailers to supply Camel Valley wines and this has led to a small but growing retail availability including through some of the UK's leading retail chains.
Thinking that he might be ready to retire, his family recently gave him a tour of Australia and New Zealand where he took a special interest in cellar door operations as well as the wines.
'Australasia is making wines of outstanding style and value of the sort we should be aspiring to produce in the UK,' he says while confirming that any likelihood of him actually retiring is a remote prospect! 'I also saw some pretty good cellar door operations on my tour and I've gained a few ideas I can introduce here at home,' he added.
This article was first published in the July issue of the Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine. To get your copy or to subscribe to the Grapegrower & Winemaker contact Winetitles on +61 8 8292 0888 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Other feature articles
- Natalie Fryar, Winemaker, Jansz Tasmania
- Angelo Puglisi, Ballandean Estate, Queensland
- Dave Cleary, West Cape Howe Wines, WA
- Kim Chalmers, Chalmers Nurseries, NSW
- Tiffany Nugan, Nugan Estate, NSW
- Doug Bowen, Bowen Estate, SA
- Drew Brent-White, Windance Estate, WA
- Ian Hollick, Hollick Wines, SA
- Andrew Nugent, Bird in Hand Winery, SA
- Jim Chatto, Pepper Tree Wines, NSW
- Tony Keys, The Key Files
- Forum in pursuit of Pinot excellence
- Andrew Naylor, Pernod Ricard, NZ
- Samantha Scarratt, Fishtail Vineyards, New Zealand
- Adam Hooper and Elena Golakova, La Curio, SA
- Kathleen Quealy, T’Gallant/Balnarring Vineyard/Quealy Wine, VIC
- Richard Smart, Tamar Ridge Wines, TAS
- Terry Lee
- Ben Glover, Wither Hills, NZ
- David Fonseca Guimaraens, Fonseca and Taylor’s Port, Portugal
- Sam Temme, Lloyd Brothers, SA
- Peter May
- Colin Kay, Kay Brothers Amery, SA
- Mark Deegenaars, Sirromet Wines, QLD
- Peter Dry, University of Adelaide, SA
- Simon Thistlewood, Bimbadgen Estate, NSW
- David Lehmann, Barossa Valley, SA
- Mark Lloyd, Coriole Vineyards, McLaren Vale, SA
- Tom Harvey, Chalk Hill, SA
- Albarino – potentially Australia’s great white hope
- Ian Hendy, Tahbilk, VIC
- Oak trials instigated to create the right balance
- Jason Conti, Paul Conti Wines, WA
- Swan Valley goes organic in its approach to wine production
- 100-year-old vines saved from destruction
- Paul Boulden, Margaret River, WA
- Pinot trophy wine a close call
- Grenache finds its place in the spotlight
- Ashley Ratcliff, Yalumba Wine Company, SA
- Lessons from a fiery day in February
- Prolific Penfolds takes a double triumph
- Great win for Tatachilla Shiraz
- Ian Long, Yarraman Estate, NSW
- Capercaillie looks to future
- Tolley leaves AWBC in good shape
- Julian Parrot, Mandala Wines, NSW
- Yarra Valley’s Sticks grows up
- Rebuilding Bianchet Winery
- Kalleskes take organic grapegrowing to heart
- Vineyards benefit from WWOOF program
- Organic producer in touch with the earth
- BackVintage adopts integrated IT solution
- Lark Hill achieves full biodynamic certification
- Joseph Gilbert of Pewsey Vale – early maker of the classic Australian blend
- Sam Statham, Rosnay Wines, NSW
- Young achiever to study in USA
- Evolving Durif at Morris Wines
- Diane Miller, The Vintage Wineworx, WA
- NZ’s star producer guided by the cosmos
- On the rise: Pinot Gris secures its place
- Killeen wins Winetitles’ scholarship
- Rebecca Wilson, Tamar Valley, TAS
- Liz Riley, Vitibit, Hunter Valley
- The Gilberts of Pewsey Vale: the next generation
- Mark Cairns, Riverside Wines, Hawke’s Bay
- Craigow wins Tasmanian Vineyard of the Year
- Cornwall’s Camel Valley sets Sparkling pace in the UK
- Fred Peacock, Bream Creek Vineyard, Tasmania
- Arneis a winner, no matter how you say it
- WA’s Vanya Cullen named ‘woman of the year’
- McWilliams Mount Pleasant Estate award-winning cellar door
- Planning eases heatwave burden for Mount Horrocks
- Supplier of the Year proves customer service goes a long way
- Meet Ken Murchison
- The journey of Tempranillo to Australia
- Successful events have wineries bursting into song
- Jim Barry Wines winemaker chooses biodynamic option
- Meet Belinda Gould
- Hard grind is paying off for Sangiovese
- Biodynamic viticulture benefits Nazaraay Estate Winery
- Monitoring the key to reducing water use
- Consistently improving the quality and reputation of Australian Cabernet
- Making sure vines are true to type
- Lessons from the drought
- A story of Cuban cigars and a good nose
- A Murray Valley winery has released one of Australia’s first 100% carbon-neutral wines
- John Casella: The brains behind the brand
- Quality Tasmanian Pinot Noir stems from varying degrees of stalk removal
- Young leader forecasts positive future for Australian viticulture businesses
- China’s light shines on Aussie export radar
- Driving the blue bus of industry exposure
- Noble wine proves sweet for Australian wine industry
- Solar energy schemes lack uniformity in Australia
- Solutions for the wine industry’s fiddlier labelling jobs
- Carbon neutrality: The new black
- An understanding of excellence: James Irvine and his life in wine
- Can Australia overcome a harsh reality in the US
- Cape Mentelle treats itself to first place
- Aussies export their expert advice to China
- Bruce Tyrell: the Don Quixote of Semillon
- Why the past could help unlock grape’s future
- Brazil opportunities beckon
- Cool wine regions to benefit from research on new pathogen
- Wineries embrace sensory analysis
- Author reveals first steps to marketing magic
- China - emerging market or competitor?
- Young Vine Decline is studied closely in NSW
- Is the Shiraz berry the biggest loser?
- Small players the big winners for tomorrow’s vineyard
- Save money and wine by choosing the right bentonite
- Significant variations in an Iconic Coonawarra vineyard lead to radical solutions
- Sustainable pest control – now and in a changing climate
- Is there value in adding tannin to wine?
- How do country of origin, closure type and label style affect purchase decisions?
- City sellers
- Selective science – from the vineyard to the winery
- Change agenda includes new thinking
- WineCloud provides future direction for winemakers
- The iron(III) tartrate photochemistry of wine: impacts of bottle colour and weight
- How important are wine medals and how much can we rely on those who assign them?
- Big rewards in fine detail
- Italian inspiration for novel Nero d’Avola making
- Oak deserves its fine environmental credentials
- Machinery maintenance is key to vintage success
- Wine: does vine age really matter?
- SA wineries make a positive and lasting impression
- Magazine pages bring history to life for Rutherglen grower
- Coles tells small wineries to ‘work with us’
- Distinguished vineyard sites are essential for quality fruit production says Petaluma
- From vine to bottle: sustainability a core value for Barossa winery
- Adapt and innovate in a challenging wine business world
- Verduzzo - a 'crazy' white
- Australia’s grapevine germplasm collections under threat
- Expo offers suppliers a chance to shine
- Wineries celebrate end of vintage
- Artisan by name and nature
- Barossa symposium delivers tips for Shiraz vineyard management
- Research to reveal best irrigation practice in dry winters
- Lake’s Folly proves its credentials over 50 years
- New research sheds light on flavour additives in wine
- It’s a three-ringed circus
- Trying to paint the world red
- Where do little winemakers come from?
- A chip off the old block
- The rise and rise of Gatt Wines
- Bizot and Croser – a marriage made in the vineyard
- Wine’s wild man rides into town
- Jeff Bond – a licence to thrill
- The Visionary – who’s laughing now
- Chilling out in Australian wine’s own Ice Age
- Quarter of our wines face Chinese ban
- Four-year research project investigates early influence of oxygen
- Australian winemakers’ views towards oak barrel alternatives matures
- Ready…set…tweet! How you can bank your social media benefits
- Wine show season: It seems not all wine shows would earn a gold medal
- January 2015 Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine out now
- Smart & Sustainable: Jana Shepherd
- Lazy bones: Jo Perry’s ironic nickname
- Can’t sit still: Bleasdale’s energiser bunny
- Meet New Zealand’s best young viti
- Suzie Muntz
- Clare Burder: Ideas are nothing without action