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New owners bring in their first vintage at Kerry Vale Vineyard

Janet and Russell Cooke, joint owners of Kerry Vale Vineyard.

The new owners of an award-winning vineyard, located on Shropshire’s border with Wales, are celebrating their first harvest.

Husband and wife Russell and Janet Cooke are delighted to have brought in their first harvest, after purchasing the Kerry Vale Vineyard, near Churchstoke, earlier this year.

“’The last few months have been incredibly busy, but also very exciting,” said Russel. “Taking on a vineyard and cafe, especially during these difficult economic times, has been a challenge.

“However, being able to bring in the harvest to make our own wine, makes it all worthwhile. Harvest has been successful and our café is busy, so we really couldn’t ask for more.”

Although hit by a late frost in early May, the fine weather has led to good growing conditions for British vineyards, which bodes well for these new wine-growers and their first wines.

The vineyard has three grape varieties – Rondo, Phoenix and Solaris – each of which ripens at different times, meaning that they were harvested over two weeks.

This small, family run vineyard relies on volunteers to bring in the vintage and they were thanked for their help. “We really couldn’t have done it without them,” said Janet.

“We had a fantastic couple of days and it’s such a satisfying feeling to see your bucket filling up with grapes as you pick. If you have an interest in wine, it’s a great way to understand how the process begins and how the grapes are grown –  it’s also very social and ends with a glass of wine.”

To try the vineyard’s wine, visit the cellar door shop and café or visit their website, www.kerryvalevineyard.co.uk. Alternatively follow them on social media to see how the grapes they picked get turned into wine.

The vineyard is a member of MWT Cymru, an independent organisation representing more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and the Meirionnydd region of South Gwynedd.