I've been having an interesting email exchange with Oliver Richardson, from Wem, who by a strange quirk of geography is Secretary of the Welsh Vineyards Association.
Turns out I am a mere whippersnapper in the wine website field. Oliver tells me he started his, which can be found here, back in 1995. You can get in touch with Oliver by email, here.
Oliver was filling me in a bit about his background and suggesting a couple of updates.
For instance, he believes the Vyrnwy vineyard may have closed, and certainly I couldn't raise their website this morning.
He was also a little mystified by the situation at Morville St Gregory, whose website he believes is off-air. I did find their wine on offer at the Mynd Hardy Plants website, here, which suggests there's still plenty of white, sparkling white and rosé to be had.
He also suggested a couple of additions to this site in the form of the Grove Estate at Eccleshall, a few miles from that wildest of wild frontier towns, Newport, and Carden Park just over the Cheshire border not far from Whitchurch.
The Grove Estate, owned by Rob and Liz Grove, launched their first Rondo in 2016, and their website is here.
Carden Park is an impressive spa facility, which includes golf among other distractions.
The vineyard was created in 1988 and reinstated 20 years later to improve the vines, which are Seyval Blanc and Pinot Noir. You can find out more here.
I guess if I'm to include The Grove and Carden Park, they'll be included in the On The Border page. I can see a couple of trips out very soon.
So, thanks to Oliver for his interest, I look forward to keeping in touch with him.
April 19 update... Actually Oliver has me bang to rights. Just noticed that Carden Park is in the SY postcode too!!
Well, this is disgraceful really... I've just realised it's almost exactly five months since I posted anything here. And the Facebook stream appears to have stopped in the meantime, but it's back up and running again now.
Like everyone else, I've spent the last few months pretty much confined to home, which is just a mile or so down the road from Zoe and Melissa Evans's Rowton Vineyard.
If I do get out - usually for shopping or a takeaway - I pass the vineyard there and back, and I have to say it's looking pretty spruce ladies, with the trellising all in place and the pruning and weeding under control.
It's a relatively small site, but it has a great aspect, sweeping down from the A458 towards what I think is a small brook at the bottom of the slope.
The trellis takes on different shapes as you drive past in the direction of Welshpool. It's going to look spectacular when the vines start greening up.
Having received my first dose of the Bill Gates microchip (only kidding) and suffering from a degree of cabin fever, I did venture into Shrewsbury this morning where I actually got to talk to actual people face to face - socially distanced of course.
The poor lady in Marks and Sparks who foolishly asked me 'can I help?' got sidetracked for 15 minutes by some burbling fool who insisted on giving her virtually his complete life story.
I fear Robin Nugent at Iron and Rose, the wine shop on the top floor of the Shrewsbury Market Hall must have felt he'd suffered a similar fate.
Turns out he knows the Goddards at Commonwood. I asked him to pass on my best wishes next time he was in touch.
Once the madness has ended, he's planning to open a tasting section next to the shop based on the same lines as his other venture, Glouglou.
Robin's on Instagram and Twitter @iron_and_rose.
Originally posted on the home page on 29/03/2021
First, a confession. This blog was meant to be a book, and it was meant to be finished at least two years ago.
It was John Lennon who said 'life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans', but I can't honestly blame much more than prevarication for not completing the project.
Even so, times change. It was when I was offered the chance to create a website for a local farm shop that a small light went on in my dull head. This was a much quicker route to getting things done.
So, pulling together some of the research I'd already done, I've committed to at least trying to promote the surprising diversity of wine growing and production in what might be considered to be a 'too-northerly' part of the world.
Shropshire is probably close to the northern edge of what's possible, but maybe that edge is moving further north all the time. You'll notice, too, that I've included some of our near-neighbours in the Shropshire story.
Since I started the research, there's been a significant spurt in the number of newer vineyards. My interest was first piqued by Ram Chahal and family at Rodington, but since then we've seen Hencote on the rise in Shrewsbury, Colemere starting to sell their wine from Ellesmere way, and only the other week, Zoe and Melissa Evans planting a whole new vineyard next to the Welshpool road just outside Shrewsbury.
We've lost a couple of people, too. David Millington, a wine pioneer from Wroxeter, sadly passed away, while Geoff Ferguson has handed over the reins at Kerry Vale.
What's been interesting, however, is the burst of activity our local vineyards have created on social media platforms like Facebook. Most, it seems, are doing a fine job of self-promotion. I'm hoping that, through this website, I can present a wider overview of the picture in Shropshire.
There's plenty to do, so please keep coming back.