Wales to Become 'Burgundy of Britain' as Nation's Finest Wines Get Marketing Overhaul; WELSH CIDERS SCOOP AWARDS AT NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

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Byline: SION MORGAN sion.morgan@walesonline.co.uk

TRADITIONALLY associated with culinary-delights like lamb, cockles and laverbread, Wales could soon find itself being ranked alongside Burgundy in France or Spain's La Rioja as a centre of wine-producing excellence.

Based on growing demand for our very own plonk, growers have outlined plans to re-form a Welsh Vineyard Association (WVA) to promote the blossoming industry in Wales. The proposal by Richard Morris, from the multi-award winning Ancre Hill Estates at Monmouth could see Wales' 17 vineyards working together to raise the profile of the nation's lesser-known tipples.

He believes the association would have a positive impact on Wales becoming recognised within the UK and worldwide as a quality-wine-producing area and would encourage cross-fertilisation of ideas between the businesses.

The WVA would seek to be affiliated to the United Kingdom Vineyards Association.

Mr Morris, whose vineyard last year won the coveted award for best white sparkling wine in the world at the Bollicine del Mondo International competition in Italy, said: "I think a Welsh Vineyard Association is very important to promote our industry.

"There is a general public perception in the UK that we cannot make quality wines in Wales.

"That is incorrect because the quality of a lot of Welsh wines is very good, but we need much better promotion.

"There is no question about it, we are going to be much stronger by working together to create a reputation for quality wine in Wales. We need help with promoting our businesses."

Plans were drawn up at a recent Welsh Government-led marketing workshop in the Vale of Glamorgan ahead of Welsh Wine Week which runs from May 25.

So far 14 of Wales' 17 producers have supported the proposals.

Among them Jabajak Vineyard at Llanboidy which is aiming to rival French champagne by producing 10,000 bottles of their Caerfyrddin Fizz per year in the near future. …