Cornwall’s Camel Valley vineyard awarded PDO

19th May, 2017 by Lauren Eads

Cornwall’s Camel Valley has become the first UK wine producer to receive a Protected Designation Origin (PDO) from the European Union, in relation to its ‘Darnibole’ vineyard.

This afternoon Camel Valley confirmed that it had been awarded the status following a five year process beginning in 2012, when it applied for a PDO through DEFRA to the EU for part of its Darnibole vineyard.

In a meeting held in April of this year, 28 Member States unanimously agreed to grant the PDO application, extending the original application from seven acres to a 28 acre area of south-facing vineyards.

It means that Camel Valley’s ‘Darnibole’ vineyard is currently the only single vineyard in the UK with its own Protected Designated Origin.

Confirming that its application had been successful, Bob Lindo, the owner of Camel Valley, thanked Phil Munday (DEFRA), and MPS and MEPs, such as Anthea McIntyre, Dr Ilya M. D. Maclean, (Exeter University) and MWs such as Derek Smedley for their support.

The PDO status relates to wines made from 100% Bacchus planted on Darnibole, with no acidification, de-acidification or sweetening.

The grapes must also be hand picked and vinified at the adjoining Camel Valley winery, fermented at a temperature of between 16 to 18 degrees. The finished wine must be comparable with previous vintages to ensure typicity.

The application was made on the basis that the vineyard’s ancient slate sub-soil and steep south facing slope were unique, producing wines with a character unique to the area, specifically an “intense, steely Bacchus with a delicate restrained aroma”, according to Lindo.

In its application submitted to the EU, the Bacchus produced from the Darnibole vineyard was described as: “Fresh with an expression of minerality providing for apple or gooseberry notes beginning at the front and persisting throughout. Occasionally, notes of kumquat and white peach appear and grassy notes at the end. Less obviously fruit-driven and more mineral than other Bacchus.”

BRITISH FIZZ?

Lindo already has his sights set on securing another protected status for the English wine trade, having made an application to register the term ‘British Fizz’ as a protected geographical indication (PGI).

Lindo told db that he had written the necessary paperwork for obtaining the PGI and would be seeking to register the following three terms: ‘British Fizz’, ‘British Sparkling’ and ‘Wine from Great Britain’ in collaboration with the UKVA.

Clarifying his comments in a letter sent to the UK drinks trade, Lindo said: “I have drafted a PGI application on behalf of the UK wine industry to protect the word ‘British’ from those with no connection whatsoever to the English/Welsh sparkling wine industries from picking up the term ‘British’ for their own use.

“The protected term applied for is ‘British’ with ‘British fizz’ shown as ‘an equivalent term’. It is less to do with a generic name for English sparkling wine and more to do with protection, although some might start to use the term in the US where it is gaining traction.”

Any such PGI would be owned and administered by the UKVA.

Camel Valley’s ‘Darnibole’ vineyard is currently the only single vineyard in the UK with its own Protected Designated Origin.

While this is still very much in the early stages of consideration, as the English wine trade grows defining and protecting its interests will undoubtedly be a priority for producers and trade bodies.

SUSSEX PDO?

And while Camel Valley is the first to have its application approved, its not the only English wine region seeking to acquire PDO status.

In 2015 producers in Sussex, including Rathfinny Estate, collectively applied for a PDO of there wines, requesting a Sussex PDO for its wines. While Camel Valley’s PDO relates to a single vineyard, this application would cover a much wider region and incorporate many wineries, affording wineries there the same protection as Champagne or Prosecco.

However it could be years before this application is approved or rejected, with Defra only submitting its application to the European Union on behalf of Sussex wineries late last year. 

Nevertheless, the move does afford Sussex wine temporary protected status while its application is considered by the European Commission.

If approved, a PDO would impose stricter regulations on winemakers in Sussex. Sparkling wine for example would be required to be aged in bottle for at least 15 months, similar to Champagne, and have a higher minimum alcohol content than current guidelines.

Other UK products with PDO status include Cornish clotted cream and Jersey royal potatoes. The application for Sussex wine is expected to be submitted later this month.

One Response to “Cornwall’s Camel Valley vineyard awarded PDO”

  1. Burgpoodle says:

    This is all very well, and an encouraging step forward for English wine. But is it not all in vain, thanks to the Brexit brigade whose actions have torpedoed any future relevance this might have ?

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