Welsh vineyard opens 26-bed hotel to boost wine tourism

Llanerch vineyard in south Wales has opened a 26-bed hotel after securing a £2 million loan, aiming to simulate successful oenotourism models found in New Zealand and Australia.

The vineyard, which was bought by Ryan Davies in 2010, claims to be the first to have opened a dedicated hotel in the UK.

Located north west of Cardiff, just outside Hensol, the first vines were planted back in 1986. It now produces wine under the brand name Cariad wines with a total of 10,000 bottles produced each year.

The new hotel has a total of 26 en-suite rooms as part of plans that were submitted to the Vale of Glamorgan Council in 2017.

The business has provided a number of bed and breakfast rooms since 2010, and its decision to open a dedicated hotel was prompted by demand for accommodation in the area.

The vineyard currently hosts tours, tastings, weddings and corporate packages. It also operates a restaurant and bistro.

Commenting on the opening, Davies told Insider: “To become the first vineyard hotel in the UK is a fantastic achievement for the team at Llanerch.

“Across Europe, wine hotels are very popular and we wanted to bring that unique experience to south Wales.

“The popularity of Cardiff, which is just 20 minutes away, as an events destination for everything from rugby to high profile concerts has also pushed up demand for high quality accommodation in South Wales.

“This has been a vision for Llanerch for many years. We have managed every aspect of this project – the biggest we’ve ever undertaken – ourselves to ensure that the hotel offers the highest quality and that every detail has been thought about, from luxury in-room products to maximising the spectacular scenery enjoyed by every room.”

Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey will shortly be joining Llanerch in the wine tourism sector. The winery is set to open a 17-room carbon neutral vineyard hotel this summer.

Part of the new Vineyards of the Surrey Hills Group, the estate hopes the new accommodation will increase travel to the region. The hotel will include an Orangery restaurant and will be fitted with solar panels, tesla batteries, Enomatic wine machines, heated garden pods and a wine barrel sauna.

The winery currently attracts around 350,000 visitors each year and offers 7 miles of public footpaths.

Industry body WineGB predicts the wine tourism industry will grow rapidly in the coming years. It expects UK oenotourism to generate an additional revenue of £658 million a year by 2040.

In April last year, seven wine producers from Kent joined forces with tourism body Visit Kent to launch the Wine Garden of England, a new wine trail for those wanting to explore and sample the county’s produce.

The website allows users to book tastings, tours, food and accommodation in one place.

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