St. Keverne, Lizard, TR12 6QH
Tel: (01326) 280050
Vines, Grapes and Wines
Porthallow Vineyard was planted in 1987 on part of the ancient Parc an Tidno Estate. 'Parc an Tidno' is Cornish language for 'farm with springs'.
The original vineyard layout was 10,000 vines on a 4 acre valley shaped field. One side faces East and the other faces West. The vines were whites from Germany and red and white from France.
The German vines have not been successful. There is no frost in the vineyard and those vines never ripened properly and hardened off in the winter. They have now been taken out and in their place you can see 200 Cornish apple trees on the East side of the vineyard field.
The French vines are doing quite well and we are happy to be making a pleasant white wine from the Madeleine grapes. The red vines have been slower to develop and as you can see they are thicker and stronger than the whites. The Triomphe d'Alsace grape is making quite a robust red wine and we hope that it will develop into a quality wine.
The vineyard soil is quite acid and this seems to give an interesting character to the wines. We are planting more of the red Triomphe vines in the hope of making plenty of good red wine.
It was only after we came here in 1987 that we found out that this area, the East side of the Lizard Peninsula was traditionally an apple growing and Cider making area. So we started to make Cider from our own and neighbours apples.
We have now planted four more acres of apple orchards. The trees are mainly local Cornish varieties chosen for a mixture of sweet and sharp flavours. They blend to make a traditional farm Cider - Scrumpy.
Scrumpy is the old name for ordinary farm Cider. It is a completely natural product. The apple juice is left to ferment by itself using the wild yeasts that live on the apple skins. (In commercial cider making the juice is sterilised and then a proprietary yeast is added).
When fermentation has finished the cider is left to clear naturally. This takes time but all the flavour is retained. (In the commercial process the cider is filtered and sterilised and preservatives usually added).
Our main apple varieties are Cornish Gillyflower, Manaccan Primrose, Cornish Aromatic and Pigs Snout. This year we have made a single variety apple wine from the Manaccan Primrose, it is very promising.
Another development from apples has been the renewal of the old British traditional bottle fermented Cider. This was the celebration drink before bottle fermented wines (Champagne) were discovered and we are proud to offer this beautiful drink and wish you many happy returns.
After the vineyard was planted we became aware how well blessed with fruit are the hedgerows. Blackberries, Elderberries, Damsons and Sloes all ripen well and we use them to make Country wines. To suit differing palates we make a range of wines from sweet to dry using many old recipes.
Honey is used to make Mead and the sap of birch trees makes a fine dry wine that is not sharp. We follow the recipe used at Balmoral to make Queen Victoria's favourite wine. Birch wine is excellent chilled but served hot it is similar to saki, the Japanese rice wine.
To augment the hedgerow fruits, Raspberries, Loganberries and Gooseberries have been planted together with Apricots, Almonds and Black Cherries.
Herb cultivation has started in the farmyard herb sundial and some of these herbs are used in the preparation of Liqueurs. Spirits are infused with fruits and herbs to produce a refined palate sensation. We already make Sloe Gin, Cherry Brandy and Apricot Brandy.
Blackcurrant Rum, Whisky Mead and Ginger Whisky are on the way.
One mile north-east of St. Keverne.
Lizard Peninsula Porthallow St. Keverne Roskilly's Farm
Farming in Cornwall Vineyards in Cornwall