Tasting and tours at Polgoon Vineyard’s October Open Days

Penzance’s local vineyard, ‘Polgoon’ has just returned from the Taste of the West Awards with more praise for their latest products. They entered five drinks, two of their 2010 wines and three ciders.  All won awards with the 2010 Bacchus and Ortega white wine winning Gold, the Cornish Black, Cornish Pink and Cornish Dry Cider winning a Silver Award each and the 2010 Rondo and Pinot Noir red wine, achieving Bronze.

Vineyard Owners John & Kim Coulson have seen their business develop over the last 5 years from an amazing start, with their first ever wine, a still rosé, winning the coveted UK Vineyards Association’s ‘Waitrose Trophy’ which John and Kim were presented with at a ceremony at the House Of Lords. Continue reading


Seriously? Cornish Whiskey?

The Cornish Whiskey Story 

Cornwall’s first whiskey in 300 years was born from a handshake between two independent family businesses; St Austell Brewery and Healey’s Cyder Farm which, incidentally, is also Cornwall’s only brandy distillery.

The idea was initially the inspiration of St Austell Brewery’s Head Brewer, Roger Ryman, who has nursed his passion for whiskey since cutting his teeth in the Scottish drinks business several decades ago. It’s a partnership that brings both expertises in brewing and distillation together for the first time in England. Continue reading

A Brew more Cornish.

It was sent this piece of news today. Apparently, Warminster Maltings will to be supplying Skinners with their own local barley and ensuring that their beer remains truly Cornish?!?

It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Why does a maltster in Wiltshire need to buy Cornish barley to supply a Cornish brewery? I have to assume there is no malting facility in Cornwall, is that the reason. Had I spent less time staring into my glass to see if it was half full or half empty, I might have gleaned more about the brewery process?

Anyhow, it was the accompanying image, taken by my friend Mary Neale that took my interest. Not the press release that’s supposed to tell the story.

You can you decipher and get back to me if you are any the wiser.

Truro-based Skinners Brewery has linked up with Britain’s oldest working maltster in a boost for Cornish barley growers.

Skinners and Warminster Maltings have concluded a deal that will see the Wiltshire firm act as sole supplier of malt, initially for a year, for the Cornish company’s prizewinning range of ales.

On behalf of Skinners, Warminster will buy spring barley from a selection of Cornish farms to ensure they meet the increased demand of approximately 12 tonnes of malt per week.  

“We have been exclusively committed to Cornish barley for most of the company’s 14 years,” said brewery chief executive Steve Skinner.   “This arrangement with such a long-established specialist in the field will further strengthen that commitment and is good news for Cornish farmers.

“We are looking at increasing our capacity again over the next two years or so and anticipate demand rising to around 15 tonnes of malt per week, and possibly more, in that period.”

Skinners’ weekly malt usage eight years ago was just two tonnes.  It rose to six tonnes by 2006 and has since doubled to its present level.

“Our rapid growth and sales success have been due in no small measure to the high quality of Cornish barley,” said Mr Skinner.

“Despite an ever more competitive market place and intensifying cost pressures, we still insist on using Cornish barley; Cornish farms have made a terrific contribution towards our policy of brewing only the highest-quality ales.”

Warminster Maltings, with its roots stretching back to the mid 19th Century, is Britain’s oldest surviving working maltings.

It was owned by Guinness from 1941 to 1994, when it narrowly escaped closure through a management buyout led by Mr Garratt, the head maltster.  Hampshire-based grain merchant Robin Appel purchased the business ten years ago.

St. Austell Brewery takes Glastonbury by storm

A staggering 30,000 pints were sold in  St Austell Brewery‘s ‘pop-up’ pub – the ‘Cornish Arms’ in the heart of Glastonbury Festival.

For the second year running the ‘Cornish Arms’ was a massive success – despite the mud – with the bar crowded from 10am until the early hours with festival goers enjoying a pint or two of St Austell Brewery beer. It was the only bar at Glastonbury serving cooled cask ale.

The Brewery’s mission was to meet Michael Eavis’ request to recreate a proper Cornish pub in the middle of Glastonbury festival.

Jeremy Mitchell, Marketing Director at St Austell Brewery, said: “We’ve had excellent feedback, with many people saying it was the best bar at the festival – no small compliment considering there were more than 100 bars to choose from. Continue reading

The Driftwood Spars, Trevaunance Cove, St. Agnes

Lou’s Brew…  

Louise Treseder

“It’s a bit random,” says Louise Treseder of her own establishment. She’s part publican, guesthouse host, brewery owner, events organiser and restaurateur. A miss-match, hotchpotch of varying types of establishments and roles all rolled up into one.

Entrance to the Driftwood Spars

So, that’s the Driftwood: a 17th century building, with a name that hints at its history, that’s been a public house and B&B for many years. Spars from wrecked ships turned ceiling beams in the bar, other bits of flotsam off the beach and a modern twist of contemporary styling have turned the present Driftwood Spars into a genius piece of arty-craft and mistress of all things to all folk.

To try to market the Driftwood as a ‘bit of everything’ can be a bit of a problem. “We’re a friendly, traditional, local pub with cosy bars, wood burning stoves and have been playing host to an eclectic mix of live music since the 1960s,” Louise explains. The Driftwood can even boost that the band ‘Queen’, before they were famous, once played in the bar when local Truro School boy, Roger Taylor, came to visit with the rest of his band mates. “But from the point of view of marketing ourselves the pub and live music is only one feature of many our parts.” Continue reading

Festive ‘Eden’ in a Hamper


The Eden Project in Cornwall is passionate about plants, people and working towards a sustainable future. To celebrate the season of goodwill, the team at Eden has sourced a number of Christmas hampers and gift sets that showcase the very best of food, drink and plant life – much of which comes from local producers in Cornwall.  All you need to do is buy, try and   enjoy!

There’s also a fairly good chance this kind of question might turn up in a Christmas Cracker a a Trivia fact between the corny joke and the paper crown.

Did you know?  Best known as being Cornwall’s top garden and eco tourist attraction, the Eden Project is also home to the world’s  biggest rainforest  in captivity.

However, if you are like me and dislike being given anything for Christmas unless you can eat it…here are some very tasty suggestions. Continue reading

Ten ‘Cornish’ best for the Christmas table.

Giving traditional Christmas Day dining a proper Cornish twist with unique food and drink specialities from the best local producers.

1. Apéritif:

Ninemaiden's Mead

‘Ninemaidens Mead’, Lanner, TR16 5TQ.

Mead, a sweet, honey-based alcohol and, was not invented in Cornwall, but has been strongly associated with the Duchy. Ninemaidens produce five different varieties: ‘traditional’, with a strong heather honey nose, and ‘spiced’, which makes an invigorating winter warmer. These could be just as easily drunk as a sweet desert wine.  ‘Apple’, ‘blackcurrant’ and ‘redcurrant’ are fruity, slightly drier but equally delicious. Honey is sourced from hives across West Cornwall and the best locally sourced ingredients are added during the brewing process.

For Christmas it can be warmed, mulled or added to a spicy winter punch. Alternatively, try their new ‘Gwires’, crystal clear distilled mead with a floral, honeyed bouquet; a great Cornish alternative to classic single malt.

Tel:(01209) 820939 / 860630 www.cornwallsolar.co.uk/ninemaidens Continue reading