Camel Valley

This estate has become practically unrivalled in its success, winning big at the International Wine Challenge, Decanter World Wine awards and many more. It has even been awarded a gong for outstanding service to tourism by Cornwall's tourism board.

Ex-RAF pilot Bob Lindo and his wife Annie planted their first vines back in 1989. They had initially relocated to the Cornish countryside several years earlier, wishing to escape from the service lifestyle and bring up a young family, and they began farming sheep and cattle.

Their farm is on the sun-drenched slopes of the Camel Valley, not far from the famous Camel River, and as the summers went by Bob and Annie began to wonder whether vines might enjoy this idyllic aspect.

They both took viticulture courses and began reading every wine and vine book they could find, and Bob did a vintage in Germany to ready them for their first year. They built their winery, and picked their first harvest with help only from a few friends, leaving Bob to work through the night pressing the grapes by himself.

When their first wine won a medal in the national English wine competition, they knew they were doing something right. Since then, they've created a state-of-the art winery, employed a small staff and won awards at national and international levels year on year, notably Waitrose Drinks Producer of the Year in 2002 and then a gold medal in the 2005 IWC for their sparkling wine - the first sparkling wine in Cornwall.

The farm's mild climate and the suntrap provided by its steep, sloping vineyards conspire to imbue their wines with a delicious balance between fullness and freshness. The main grapes grown are typical of English vineyards - seyval blanc, bacchus, triomphe, reichensteiner, dornfelder and pinot noir - and 20% of production is given to red wines.

Their second generation has already begun, as their son Sam took over as winemaker in 2005, having abandoned a finance career when he realised his heart really lay in the Cornish countryside. He has added to the estate's string of awards, and won UK Winemaker of the Year in 2007. The experience he gained working at a winery in New Zealand has influenced Camel Valley's production methods, including a keener focus on cool-temperature fermentation, and an even greater attention to detail.

The majority of their stocks are snapped up by local retailers and restaurants, including the likes of Rick Stein's restaurant, but they now export their wines as far as Japan.

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