New Holy Vale Winery Opens On St Mary’s

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Another new tourism attraction opens on St Mary’s today. The Winery at Holy Vale has taken owner Robert Francis six years to bring to fruition.

The all-weather destination is set in the vineyard that he hopes will produce St Mary’s Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the future.

Last night, world-renowned wine expert Michael Broadbent opened the new visitor centre and tasting room.

Michael has made notes on 90,000 wines and set up Christie’s wine department. But he offered to cut the ribbon for Robert because he honeymooned in Scilly, with his wife Daphne, 60 years ago.

He said the location had “all the makings of a perfect vineyard site” and described Robert as “a Duchy Original.”

Robert says the winery will sell his islands wine when it is available but he also wants to showcase the best wines from around the world.

There are also boards showing how wine is made and the history of the Holy Vale vineyard.

Robert says his own knowledge of wine is still limited and he’s learning all the time.

He’s keen for islanders and visitors to enjoy wine in a relaxed environment with no pretentiousness and without being intimidated by the subject.

The newly built centre will also be a venue for meetings and social functions.

Islanders will have to wait until next year to sample wine produced from the Star Castle owner’s vines.

Robert says it’s important, especially with English wine, that the product is good quality, so he’s not aiming to sell bottles until 2015.

But he added that all the signs are good, with the excellent weather so far this year.

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