HER ROYAL HIGHNESS The Duchess of Cornwall surprised guests at Llanerch in Hensol as she visited the vineyard to mark its 10th anniversary as part of her visit to South Wales with The Prince of Wales.
The Duchess congratulated owner Ryan Davies, who took over Llanerch 10 years ago, on his achievements over the last decade as she enjoyed a wine tasting. Her Royal Highness visited the vineyard’s hotel and met staff and local suppliers in Llanerch’s new restaurant, before planting a vine and enjoying a glass of the vineyard’s award-winning Cariad blush.
Speaking to Ryan Davies during her visit, Her Royal Highness said: “I’d like to congratulate you on the wonderful job you’ve done here at this incredible vineyard. As president of Wine GB, I’m proud to be part of wine growing in this country. We’re really getting it right in this country and giving the French a run for their money. I’ve loved my visit here and I hope I shall come back again to try your restaurant.”
Ryan said: “We are honoured that The Duchess of Cornwall chose to visit us during her trip to Wales to help us celebrate a decade at Llanerch. Her Royal Highness was particularly keen to hear about how we are expanding our vineyard, to see our new restaurant and – of course – to try some of our wines.
“Her Royal Highness was a joy to have at Llanerch and spent time talking to our whole team from housekeeping and restaurant staff to our wedding and events team. We also introduced her to some of our local suppliers who provide our restaurant with fresh produce every day. Her Royal Highness is passionate about British wines and it was fantastic to hear that she enjoyed our wine and was impressed with what we are doing at Llanerch.”
The Duchess of Cornwall met representatives from Miskin Eggs, Matt Fresh fruit and vegetables, Ty Tanglyst Dairy, Welsh Coffee Co. and SubZero ice creams in the restaurant.
Llanerch recently unveiled a 200 square foot extension to its award-winning restaurant and plans to plant a further six acres of vines at the vineyard.
Llanerch has seen tremendous growth in recent years, including the opening of the UK’s first vineyard hotel in 2019, offering 37 rooms and suites and meeting and conference facilities.
Ryan Davies took over the vineyard, which is one of the oldest in Wales, in 2010 when he was just 24 years old with no previous experience. He aimed to replicate the successful wine tourism models he had seen in vineyards in New Zealand and Australia, where vineyards are tourist attractions in their own right.
Since then, Llanerch has become the UK’s largest vineyard hotel and attracts visitors from around the world with its award-winning restaurant and bar, marquee and lodge wedding venues, on-site cookery school owned by Angela Grey, and popular wine tasting and vineyard tour experiences.