Spend a sunny afternoon among Cornwall’s vines and raise a toast to English Wine Week from June 17 to 23

Cornwall may well be known for its stunning beaches, charming fishing villages and moreish pasties but the county has also made a name for itself as one of the best regions in the UK for producing fine wine – some say it’s like the Napa Valley of the UK.

A maritime climate and diverse terroir have enabled winemakers here to produce some spectacular still and sparkling wines, firmly placing the county on the global wine map.

Yet Cornwall’s vineyards offer far more than just a taste of English plonk. From Royal Warrants to secluded island escapes there’s many a reason to visit and spend a sunny summer afternoon among the vines.

Great British Life: Camel Valley vines (c) Camel ValleyCamel Valley vines (c) Camel Valley


Located halfway between Wadebridge and Bodmin on the Camel Trail, Camel Valley has been producing award-winning English wines since ex-RAF pilot Bob Lindo and his wife, Annie, planted their first eight thousand vines in 1989.

It was a tough start for the couple: ‘We practically lived in the vineyard, doing all the work by hand,’ admits Annie, who still does much of the pruning herself. But the work paid off. The couple won plaudits for the wine produced from their first commercial grape crop, in 1992, and many more awards have followed including Waitrose Drinks Producer of the Year and an International Wine Challenge Gold for their first sparkling wine in 2005.

After their son, Sam, joined the farm in 2002 and took over winemaking duties, he was promptly named UK Winemaker of the Year (an accolade he has now achieved three times) and was the first English winemaker to be shortlisted for the international Sparkling Winemaker of the Year award in 2014.

Local celebrity chef and friend, Rick Stein, has championed Camel Valley from the outset, opening their winery back in 2001 and regularly returns to film for his TV shows, but it was in 2018, the same year Bob was awarded a lifetime achievement award at the International Wine Challenge, that the family received the ultimate seal of approval by becoming the first English wine producers to be given a Royal Warrant. To mark His Majesty King Charles III’s coronation last month, they created a limited edition Blancs de Blancs 2016 (£39.95) exclusively for fellow Royal Warrant holders, Fortnum & Mason.

Guided tours of the vineyard take place at 10:30am from Monday to Friday and include a wine flight of four flagship wines (£18pp). They also host a Grand Tour (£25pp) each Thursday evening at 5pm with a tasting of at least five wines including special vintages from their library collection.


Great British Life: Knightor Winery (c) Debs Alexander PhotographyKnightor Winery (c) Debs Alexander Photography


Trethurgy-based vineyard, Knightor, which has five hectares of vines planted across two sites, is not afraid to push boundaries when it comes to winemaking. Last summer they produced an aromatic rosé wine spritz in a can (perfect for picnics on the beach) and this year they are launching a new ‘orange wine’ – a Muscat, which gets its colour from the skins being in contact with the juice while it ferments.

‘We have some great wines coming from the latest stellar vintage of 2022 also, including an unoaked dry Chardonnay (similar in style to a Chablis) and a lightly oaked Pinot Noir Rose fermented and aged for a short period in American oak,’ says chief winemaker David Brocklehurst. ‘But if I were to choose something to toast English wine week, it has got to be our Vintage Cuvee 2013 sparkling.’

There are two types of tour on offer for visitors. The winery tour (£20), which takes place each Sunday, provides an insight into the winemaking process, with a peek inside the winery and a tasting of four wines and coincides with the winery’s famous Sunday Roast feasts.

The vineyard tours (£35) are on Thursdays at Knightor’s second site, a private vineyard at Portscatho, and include a cheese and charcuterie board at their pop-up restaurant The Vine, which has stunning views across the South Coast.

To celebrate English Wine Week, the Knightor team has put together a special wine case featuring four cans of Aprez Cornwall and a bottle each of their Classic Cuvee White, Bacchus 2022, Trevannion 2022, Carpe Diem Rosé and Pinot Noir 2019.


Great British Life: St Martin’s in the Scilly Isles (c) St Martin'sSt Martin’s in the Scilly Isles (c) St Martin's


St Martin’s in the Scilly Isles may well be home to just 136 residents but they have been served well by a vineyard, which was first established on the island by Val and Graham Thomas in 1996.

Newcomers Holly Robbins and James Faulconbridge took over the former flower farm in 2020 having first visited the islands two years earlier.

‘We completely fell in love with the place,’ says Holly, a hypnotherapist, who together with James, an ecologist, were Highly Commended at last year’s Cornwall Sustainability Awards.

‘Since arriving we have worked hard to make the vineyard as sustainable as possible using regenerative techniques ranging from no-burn and no-till through to no artificial fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides and we're fossil fuel free – everything is battery powered from our solar panels.’

As well as making wine, Holly and James have planted orchards and press their own apples to create juices and ciders and have also started to make micro-batch beer (there are only ever 100 bottles of any given brew).

Visitors can roam the vines, orchards and meadows on a self-guided tour (£10pp including a wine flight), aided by a vine trail booklet and interpretation boards with information about the island’s flora and fauna, or just sample the wines, beers and ciders by the glass. Should you want to extend your stay, there are also two shepherd huts, designed and built by Holly and James, in a private meadow just a short stroll from the beach.


Great British Life: Polgoon (c) PolgoonPolgoon (c) Polgoon


Another former flower farm, Polgoon was set up by fish merchants John and Kim Coulson, in 2006 and now has 14,000 vines spread across 14 acres on the outskirts of Penzance.

‘Although we produce amazing sparkling wines like the rest of the country, we have focused on our still wines,’ says John, who is responsible for producing Cornwall’s only Sauvignon Blanc. ‘2022 was the best year yet, with great levels of ripeness achieved enabling us to make some stunning still wines such as whites from Bacchus and Sauvignon Blanc, rosé from Pinot Noir, and a wonderful fruit driven red from Rondo and Pinot Précoce.’

The vineyard also produces ciders, made in the traditional method like their sparkling wines, and soft juices. This was a venture John and Kim started when bad weather meant there were little grapes to harvest for wine in 2007 and 2008. ‘Every great story has its ups and downs and we were determined not to be beaten,’ adds John.

Guided tours (£17.50pp) run on Thursdays and Fridays throughout the summer and include a look around the vineyard and a tasting of five of their wines with ideas for food pairings. If the talk of food makes guests peckish then there’s an on-site café serving cheeseboards and the Vine House Kitchen, which makes a range of salads, snacks and pizzas.

If you fancy a longer vineyard break then Polgoon’s three-bedroom holiday cottage, Ortega, sleeps up to six people and has a hot tub so you can enjoy a glass of Cornish bubbly surrounded by bubbles.


Great British Life: Trevibban Mill (c) Lee MaxwellTrevibban Mill (c) Lee Maxwell


Minimal intervention and biodiversity is at the heart of Trevibban Mill, set in the picturesque Issey Valley, just three miles from Padstow.

Owners Engin and Liz Mumcuoglu were inspired by Engin’s grandfather, who had a vineyard in Eastern Turkey, to plant vines on fields adjoining the mill site they began to renovate in 2008. A couple of years later, they added apple trees, sweet chestnuts and other fruit trees.

The couple are continuously working to reduce the use of sulphites in their wines and use organic and regenerative agriculture methods in the vineyard. This year they’ve planted an additional 1,000 vines of a new disease resistant variety called Sauvignac, which will require minimal spraying.

Guided Tours (£20pp) run several afternoons each week and in high season customers can stay into the evening to enjoy food from a pop-up by Barnaby’s Restaurant in Padstow.

The popular Grand Walking Tour (£65pp) is a more in-depth affair, lasting four hours and including a light lunch and tasting of seven wines plus a cider.

Visitors this summer will also get to try their new release red wine, Cicero, as well as their eldest son Tom’s hemp-based ‘Themptation’ hummus, spreads, oils and chocolate, which are produced on site.