Despite having lived in Cardiff, South Wales for 3 years (in fact it was my first home in the UK as I went to Cardiff University), I had absolutely no idea that a short drive away was a stunning Welsh Vineyard called Llanerch Vineyard! I didn’t even know that Welsh wine was a thing until recently.
I stumbled across it whilst researching venues for a little break in Wales and Llanerch Vineyard popped up and so I had a quick look at it and booked it straight away! It was really reasonably priced and was actually my first Vineyard hotel stay in the UK.
The location of the hotel is superb, approximately a 20 minute drive away from Cardiff City Centre, which I had actually wanted to visit to go down memory lane!
You can do tours and tastings at Llanerch and they have a restaurant and cookery school on site too, but as I was visiting during Covid times, the restaurant and cookery school was closed and instead they had a temporary marquee set up on the grounds, which was fine. The food was really lovely! We had lunch, dinner and our breakfast here.
Cariad (which means love) Wine is produced on site and the first vines were planted on the grounds in 1986 and were a hybrid of French and German varieties by owners at the time, Peter and Diane. Diane’s interest had been piqued after she read an article about the rising success of British Vineyards in The Guardian which led her to travel to Burgundy, France to learn more.
The first bottles of wine were then produced here three years later, in 1989, under the Cariad name. The Vineyard is now owned by Ryan Davies and his family, who have restored the estate and given it a makeover with a £2 million investment as they want to have the same success with wine tourism as vineyards they have visited themselves in New Zealand and Australia.
On arrival we embarked on a tour of the Vineyard and tasting and I was really happy with the social distancing measures in place as well as the availability of hand sanitisers everywhere.
Our host took us through a little bit about the history of the wines at the estate and we tried some of the wines, including the Cariad Medium Dry White which I loved, whilst she gave us some tips on how to taste them to get the most out of them.
We then went for a wander amongst the vines and tried another of their popular wines, the Cariad Rosé, which was so delicious – perfect for warm, summer days. The south facing slopes in the Ely Valley offer the perfect conditions to produce the wine here and the wine is truly fantastic!
After the tour we retreated back to the hotel, which is made up of 26 rooms and suites, each accompanied by the stunning views of the Welsh countryside. It was a shame that we had a bit of a drizzly weekend as otherwise I would have loved to have spent some time in the balcony of our room as the views were superb! We had booked the Superior King Room.
Our room was large and spacious with modern and contemporary touches. I loved that there were White Company toiletries as part of the amenities and we really enjoyed our stay. It had a Nespresso Machine, Kettle and all the main features you would expect in a 5 star hotel.
The hotel is also very dog friendly and there are a number of rooms available specifically for dog owners.
If you are planning to visit, I’d recommend booking the tours and your meals well in advance as they are popular and get booked up quickly. It’s perfect for a 1 night break and really well priced.
The tours run from 1 April to 31 October, every Day: 12:00pm, 2:30pm and 5.00pm.
Cost: £14 per person (individual tours).
Where: Llanerch Vineyard, Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan, CF72 8GG
For more information: llanerch-vineyard.co.uk