Scilly Hotelier Hoping For First Home-Grown Wines By Christmas

Robert's vineyard at Holy Vale

Robert’s vineyard at Holy Vale

The owner of the Star Castle Hotel says he is confident that his new vineyard venture will produce its first bottles of wine, a Pinot Noir rosé, by Christmas.

And Robert Francis says a bottle will be sent to Highgrove as he wants Prince Charles to be one of the first to taste it. Robert says the Duke of Cornwall asked him to send the first bottle four years ago when he spoke to him at a tenant’s lunch, just after planting the first vines.

He’s been working with an award-winning Austrian winemaker Willi Opitz to develop the vineyard. Robert is passionate about wine and says, as he’s putting his name to it, he wants it to be good.

60% of his vines are at Holy Vale, where he cultivates the Pinot Noir grape, while at Silver Carn another 30% is Chardonnay and 10% is Pinot Gris.

From Radio Scilly

Robert Francis talks about his winemaking venture

Robert will be keeping a close eye on the weather in June. That’s the critical time of year for the vines to flower and in a good year, he could produce up to 7,000 bottles.

He said the low margins on wine mean it’s not really cost-effective to export although he thinks it might be popular with hotel guests, Scilly wine lovers and the UK market, possibly through mail-order.

Robert’s not finalised a name yet but he says Silver Carn Chardonnay and Holy Vale Pinot Noir have a ring to them. And he’s prepared to offer a bottle to anyone who comes up with a better suggestion.