In addition to all the fantastic things to discover in Cornwall.. miles of secret golden beaches, exquisite local produce and a way of life steeped in grand heritage, there's another lesser known Cornish wonder that is fast gaining in recognition.
While the warmer climates of Italy or Australia may inspire a winemaking experience, there's so much more to be discovered closer to home, and we know the perfect destination! There are a fair few winemaking regions in England, but as Kate McBurnie from Cornish Wine Tours explains, you get way more bang for your buck when exploring winemaking in Cornwall. Here's why...
Image courtesy of Checkered Photography
There's a fantastic diversity of wines in Cornwall
You may not have heard of all of the grape varieties before (Reichensteiner, Seyval Blanc, Bacchus - to name but a few!) but you are sure to find something you love. There is literally something for everyone. Whether you are a fan of dry white wine, or perhaps you are partial to a pale rosé, there’s lots on offer. Contrary to popular belief, you can also find some outstanding reds in Cornwall which tend to be mostly 'Pinot Noir' based - fruit driven and lighter in body.
Of course the sparklers are what Cornwall first became really famous for, owing to that slightly cooler climate and therefore a touch more acidity in the grapes, but as the years have passed and we get a little warmer the still wines win as many awards as the fizz.
The weather is always amazing!
Ok, ok, I’ll admit it - we don’t always have those guaranteed sunshine days, but on the whole it’s pretty glorious and if 2018 is anything to go by, we have hope for the future! But to be honest, a Cornish vineyard is beautiful at any time of year, come rain or shine. A rainy day here is always better than a rainy day in the city in my opinion.
There's stunning beaches whichever direction you go
Can you think of anywhere else in the UK that can boast 250 miles of coastline and 300 beaches as well as making an abundance of award-winning wine to boot? That is pretty unique - even Devon can’t take that away from us! You can spend the morning surfing and the afternoon working your way through the tasters at the local vineyard.
It's a foodie and wine-lovers dream!
To really understand a place, I think you have to eat the local food and drink the local wine - together they are often natural pairings for each other and Cornwall is no different when it comes to the ideal combo of fresh seafood and Cornish wine. When you are in Cornwall you feel like you could be anywhere in the world. Picture this - sat on the beach, sun disappearing on the horizon, a glass of crisp white Bacchus in hand, and a BBQ on the go with a handful of fresh prawns sizzling away. For me that is pretty perfect, and its rare to find this experience in any other part of the UK.
The most peaceful place
Staycations are all the rage but if the thought of being sat on the M25 for 7 hours in the sweltering summer heat, with the kids in the back - “are we there yet?” - puts you off, (and I don’t blame you!) why not fly down instead? With the new Heathrow to Newquay flight running up to 4 times a day from April 2019 it is for sure the most convenient way to get here and with minimal hassle.
Visit for a long weekend, or stay for a week, the ease of it all is very appealing and easy to get your wine holiday fix. That said, if you do brave the roads, you can rest assured that once you’re in Cornwall it is very easy to navigate your way around and find the local wineries and stock up.
So...when are you visiting?
With the season wrapped up, thousands of bottles filled and labelled, row upon row of vines tended, pruned and blended, it's time for us - and you - to grab a festive tipple and toast to 2019.
This year has been fantastic for the quality and recognition of English wine, with many successful highlights for us here at Knightor Winery. However, it wasn't all smooth sailing, as our winemaker David explains.
From one extreme to the other
If you had spoken to me in early May, I wouldn't have sounded too optimistic about the coming 2018 growing season and grapes. March and April being very cool, late March was even cold enough for a dusting of snow down here in tropical Cornwall! This cold spring resulted in a late bud-burst for the vines, which were a good 3 to 4 weeks behind usual. From this point you would have to say we would need an exceptional summer to ripen the grapes in what would be a short growing season.
Fortunately for us, an exceptional summer was what we got! Early summer temperatures were above average and rainfall well below, this resulted in the vines putting on incredibly fast growth early in the season and flowering if anything around a week earlier than typical. Weather during flowering was perfect resulting in great, even fruit set. The summer remained dry so disease pressure was low and the vines were not as vigorous as in a typical summer. This dry weather was perfect for the grapes but less so for other crops such as the spuds in the neighbouring field of our Portscatho vineyard.
The negatives of a hot summer
Harvest began at Seaton vineyard on the 17th September with the Rondo and ended on the 18th of October with Seyval Blanc from our Portscatho vineyard. Across almost all varieties yields were above average and quality and ripeness above average too.
One of the few difficulties during the growing season to mention was the odd spell of weather during ripening in September where disease pressure was high due to high humidity. This resulted in some varietals such as Bacchus having a very short window for picking before botrytis set in. Fortunately cases such as these were the exceptions, its disappointing, plus requires a lot more selective picking.
A special year for Knightor wines
This year fermentation on the whole has been unusually slow, with many ferments lasting well over a month; some over 2 months! Our last 2 Chardonnay barrels have just finished mid December - this is after 3 months fermenting! There's no rush! It is still early on in the winemaking but is clear the 2018 wines will have more body, structure and texture than you would typically expect of an English wine, they show great potential!
There are a few standouts of the 2018 crop for me, Pinot Noir in general was very good for either rosés or red wines but the most exciting is a great batch of Pinot Noir Précoce from our Portscatho vineyard. In the past we have made both sparkling and a still rosé from this variety but this year seemed the perfect opportunity to push for a red wine given how clean the fruit was and the levels of ripeness. Half of the volume of this has gone in to barrel the other half maturing in tank, keep a lookout for a release in summer 2019! Its looking wonderfully soft fruity and elegant.
We can't wait to see what 2019 has in store for us and hope you join us for the adventure!
'The most romantic time of year is here!'
The Christmas period draws us closer to the people we care about in our lives and it also creates some romantic and very special memories that may include popping the question. A big congratulations to those of you who have recently got engaged. This is a very exciting time for you all!
As we also all know, Christmas is one of the busiest times of year, with a jam-packed social calendar of parties, friends and family. It may seem daunting but do not stress! We are here to help you along the path of engagement and help you answer the ‘what’s next?’ questions.
Set a date.
Or thereabouts! At this point it is very hard to set an exact date but narrow it down to a few specific dates or season.
The time of year is very important. Traditionally wedding season falls from May through to October and you will find that venue hire rates reflect this. If you are on a tight budget, looking at dates either side of these months may help you with your decision. If it is sun you are looking for, or even just a dry day, you may be safer sticking with a date within wedding season.
Some of you may be looking at a particular decor or theme for the wedding. Think of what time of year would suit these best, whether it's Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter. Use some tools and surf the internet for inspiration; this may also help to pick a time of year.
Here at Knightor we have four acres of vineyards, orchards, arbour and pond which provides the perfect location for your spring/summer wedding. We also have our historic barns for a dramatic setting for those cosy Autumnal weddings where those early evenings are captured within the stone walls.
You may also want to consider other factors such as not clashing with other important dates so always include your nearest and dearest when narrowing it down. On the other hand, you may want to consider some symbolic dates, such as the date of the day you met or a year from your engagement date.
Now it’s time to decide who to invite to your wedding day. For some of you this will be an easy task but for others, not so clean cut. If you have an enormous family or too many friends you may find your guestlist racking up those numbers. Do not fret! We have a little tip to help you finalise your list.
Why not try putting together three different lists:
1. The dream list
This list excludes budget and costings so throw that to the side (for now) We give you permission to add on everyone you desire, so think big!
2. Realistic list
Now it gets a little harder, we ask you to split the 1st into three sections: Day guests, evening guests and reserve list guests. Your reserve list will come in handy when you start looking at venues as this will depend on budget and space available.
3. Intimate list
Some of you may be looking to keep the wedding day small and intimate or just low cost then this list is for you! You have to keep your wits about you when putting together this list. Do not allow too many outside influences and make sure the guestlist reflect both you and your partner.
A small tip for all lists - Don’t forget to think about plus ones and children at the wedding (day or evening only).
The wedding venue.
When it comes to finding the perfect wedding venue you want to make sure it is ticking all the boxes. The last thing you want to do is book a venue which is missing one of your key elements! We have all been secretly planning this for years so it easy to get a little over excited when searching for your dream venue. Be prepared with these simple steps and you will be sure to find the one!
I know it’s very tempting but before you press that search button make sure you set your budget. This is very important as this will reduce the risk of falling in love with a venue that is just a little too much over your budget.
If you would like to know more about Knightor's venue hire rates and whats included, send our Wedding Coordinator, Jess, an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Plan some time where you and your partner can sit down and discuss what your day will involve and how much each part will cost. Now go and get those viewings booked in!
Is the venue local? If it isn’t you will have to think about accessibility for your guests and whether or not there is affordable accommodation nearby. Take a look at Knightor's onsite accommodation and places to stay nearby.
You may have booked your ceremony at a different venue to the reception so think about the distance from each and whether or not your guests be able to easily get from one to the other. And remember, supplying transport will add a little more to your budget! Your guests are important to you and an important factor of your day so making travel and access as easy as possible will make the day a great experience for all involved.
You have already put together your guestlist and have an idea of your maximum and minimum numbers. Now it's as simple as does the venue work for you? The brochure says it can sit up to 120 guests but do you feel the space is big enough? Is there a lovely flow for the guests throughout the day? These are all questions you should be asking and if the answer is yes then this one could be a potential venue!
If your venue has ticked all of the above you can now start looking at the finer details. Maybe you have something out of the ordinary planned, a carpet of candles down the aisle or even the idea of roasting marshmallows over fire pits. If you want to add that a little wow factor to your Knightor wedding ask Jess or Anna, our wedding coordinators for more ideas.
It’s these little details that create a wedding that is really personal to you and partner and memories that guests will treasure so make sure you are asking the right questions. Be prepared and write a list of questions you would like to ask - we all do it!
Venue search tip - Always check the venue has its own in house wedding coordinator this will help with taking the stress off you.
Once the venue is booked you have reached a milestone in your wedding planning. The rest should slowly fall into place.
Enjoy the rest of your planning!
We have hosted a range of exciting screenings this year, including the Royal Wedding Garden Party and Sky TV launch with the guys from the Cornwall Channel, however, last night's screening took a fictional twist and transformed the winery barn for a screening of Moulin Rouge.
We asked you back in Summer which film you would like to see screened at Knightor and you didn't disappoint with your choice! The upstairs of the threshing barn created a perfect space for a cinema and a large screen projected the film. A warm welcome and tasty array of cinema snacks awaited guests, with homestyle salted caramel/plain popcorn, burger sliders, nachos and ice creams on offer, as well as plentiful wines, naturally!
A collaboration with C Fylm, a Cornish cinema initiative, these screenings are open to all and enable people across the Cornwall to watch great films in their own community at an affordable price. With tickets just £6 this includes membership for members to access screenings at different venues throughout Cornwall for a nominal charge.
We would like to thank everyone supported this event - we hope you as much fun as we did and can't wait to share details about our next screening.. more details coming soon!
We did a recent collaboration with myhotelbreak on why their customers should pay us a visit to Knightor Winery. Here's what they discovered:
Having memorable attractions to visit always adds to the experience of a hotel break. We highly
recommend taking time out and adding the Knightor Winery to your itinerary this year. A splendid
winery with character and history. A day out to remember.
Set in beautiful surroundings above the St Austell Bay is the majestic Knightor Winery. Near to the
Eden Project, the winery is a place full of history and boasts a great heritage in making fantastic
wine. Immerse yourself in the granite barns and gaze onto the 4 acres and learn how the “grape to
glass” really works. Enjoy the feast nights at the winery which are memorable, filling and above all
great to be involved in.
What to do when visiting?
Wine Tours & Tastings
For wine enthusiasts then the wine tours are a must. These tours are varied and cover a variety of
subjects from learning about wine, to making wine in the English climate, to growing grapes and
more in-depth tours on explore themes such as oaked and aged wine processes and other wine
maker tours. You’re really spoilt for choice. Running from April to October, you’re in for a treat.
What are Feast Nights may you ask? Well they are to be savoured that’s for sure. These nights
showcase a theme, whether that’s autumn, winter or a Bonfire inspired feast as examples. Enjoy
fantastic cooking in a laid back friendly but cosy setting in the winery barn. Enjoy some nibbles and
drinks before the main event. Tickets are usually between £15 and £30 per person. This is a really unique event and something we highly recommend.
Find out more about feast nights at Knightor Winery!
The Knightor Shop
The Knightor Winery Shop is a great place to sample and take home some limited edition wine that’s
produced on their vineyard on the Cornish coast.
Not only that, but visitors are also able to take away something to remember during their visit here.
The shop also sells gifts, accessories and event tickets. Click on the above link to browse online.
Nothing beats a glass of wine and a great movie to get tucked into, especially as the colder nights
draw in. At Knightor one of the fantastic events they host is the ‘Merlot & Movies’ where there are
several screening from the winery barn, usually on a monthly basis. Click on the above link for screenings and prices.
Knightor Winery is more than just a winery It’s a place to be discovered with so much to learn,
explore and enjoy. From its wine tours and vermouth recipes, to its feast nights and cinema options.
Great for weddings and corporate events, this attraction has it all.
Enjoy Knightor Winery, a place to experience.
The most wonderful time...
A cosy barn full of warm celebrations, bronzed leaves falling by the arbour and relaxed evenings lit with rays of golden light..autumn and winter weddings at Knightor are simply stunning.
It's clear to see why weddings at this time of year are on the rise. Throughout autumn and into the magical winter months, come rain or shine, there's plenty to love about these seasonal weddings.
We've collected together some top tips for creating the ultimate autumn/winter wedding... how to prepare, things to consider and ideas for making the most out of your wedding celebrations.
Autumn brings with it an explosion of colour that is perfect for celebrations. It's a great time to embrace natural, earthy colours as well as pops of colour, or snow whites. Rich, warm tones will enhance your theme and create an inviting space to celebrate.
Take note of seasonal flowers, which ones are available and can create an authentic addition. For a festive touch, no wedding would be complete without mistletoe and natural foliage into wreaths, or fir trees. Chrysanthemum, Gypsophila and Myrtle are beautiful flowers perfect for the winter months.
Take inspiration from your venue and make the most of seasonal themes, including foliage, slates and log circles that can provide a pretty centrepiece for dining tables and decorations throughout.
Utilise natural and eco-friendly resources such as hessian and twine, get creative and thrifty to create a truly unique look. An outdoor wedding might not be possible, but there's no stopping you from bringing essences of outside, inside.
After this summers heatwave, it's hard to remember just how cold the winter can be. Get prepared for the big freeze and plan wedding activities around the cooler weather. There's nothing more inviting than a warm wedding celebration and there are plenty of alternative treats and surprises to enchant guests young and old.
Sparklers are a fun addition to your special day and make for a great photo opportunity, your photographer will love it! Get everyone outside for a sparkling surprise, before retreating back indoors into the cosy warm venue.
Utilise mood lighting
Get creative with your lights, mix it up with both natural and artificial options for creating soft effects and cosy spaces. Masonry jars and wooden slices are a thrifty and creative way to enhance your decorations and really compliment the seasonal look.
Autumn and winter are synonymous with enjoying sweet treats and with plenty of delights to choose from, it's easy to create a seasonal buffet that will not only look stunning, but serve as a delicious addition to the celebrations.
Blackberries, toasted marshmallows, butternut squash, toffee apples, cranberries, mulled wine and of course, pumpkins are just a few favourites to influence your wedding dining options.
Suits & Dresses
There are loads of gorgeous ways to accessorise your wedding outfits to maximise warmth without compromising style. Faux fur wraps, soft fabrics and elegant cardigans will ensure brides and bridesmaids stay toasty warm throughout the ceremony and into the evening.
Wedding guests, don't fear if your smartest, warmest outfit is all black or your staple business wear; accessorise with a colour scarf, shoes with a pop of colour or something as simple as hair accessories will add sparkle to your outfit without having to fork out for a new outfit.
Embrace your location (and the weather!)
Thanks to our unpredictable climate, no wedding is ever guaranteed sunshine or the avoidance of rainfall, snow or blustery gales, but at least with an autumn or winter wedding, you can expect the worst, and be guaranteed a wonderful surprise when sunshine breaks through the clouds or a sprinkling of snow dusts your venue exterior.
Any chance you have to get outdoors and explore, go for it! Take advantage of golden afternoon light for photos and empty spaces with no clusters of tourists to dodge. It may be freezing outdoors, but the photos will be so worth it - show off your dress without layers and you won't regret having done it!
Start planning your special day, contact our Jessica or Anna at: email@example.com
With just over 450 vineyards in England and the industry steadily growing, winemakers are quite the rarity. We are frequently quizzing our winemaker, David about all things wine, vine, cork and stalk; always asking 'what does this mean?' and 'what would happen if?', but what about his journey into winemaking - how he got into it, where his passion comes from and what his favourite parts are.
We managed to steal him away from the vines to ask a few questions, here's what we discovered -
(Do you have a question you'd like to ask David? Comment below)
1. What is one of the hardest things about winemaking, day in and day out?
People probably do not realise the amount of time that is spent just cleaning. Whether it be one tank before its used, a pump, a barrel, hoses, bottle filler the list goes on.... its not really that hard, but its just not the most interesting part of the job.
2. If you weren't a winemaker, what do you think you would be?
Something Horticulture related I imagine. I still enjoy it, It is what I started with and what lead me in to Viticulture and Wine.
3. Do you have a favourite vineyard, besides Knightor of course?
No chance! But so many vineyard areas impress me, mostly for their non mechanised approach and challenging sites, and also just for the wine. Standouts I find Mosel, Rheingau [Germany], Vaud, Valais [Switzerland], Madeira, Douro [Portugal]. I love some of the wines from these areas, but when you add in to the it the people behind the tough work thats mostly by hand it makes the end result all the more impressive and good value.
4. What got you into the winemaking business?
I was dragged around Europe on holidays as a child visiting lots of vineyards and wineries in the process. My Sister and I found the wineries and vineyards so dull and boring, Chateau, vine, bottle, repeated again and again mostly looked the same as a child.
This eventually all changed one year when offered a sample or two of wine that is! They all tasted so different, and most were quite yummy too! It was amazing. One thing lead to another, a few years later, and a good idea followed.
As a 13 or 14 year old I already had an allotment where I spent all my spare time growing all sorts of fruit, vegetables, flowers and random seeds I had collected. After taking a cutting or two off a vine this soon spread to become well over 60 grapevines and over 100kg of grapes each year! Most other plants were soon forgotten about! I needed to try and make the tasty drink found on holidays!
A few years after whilst at school I was then fortunate enough to be offered part time work at nearby Nutbourne Vineyards, tending their vines, I loved it....
5. What is your favourite season for winemaking?
When everything is pressed and safely in tank fermenting just after harvest. The smell of happy ferments when you walk in to the winery first thing in the morning is so perfumed, unforgetable. Then blending in spring usually isnt too bad either!
6. What are some of the misconceptions/phrases you hear from people regarding wine that are simply not true (or drive you crazy)?
Not much makes me that irritated. Just minor gripes, for example people not tasting with a very open mind, or making broad sweeping statements. Then also the 'wine snobbery' at times. Its just a drink. A very interesting one though!
7. If you were a wine, what would you be?
The corked bottle!? I'm no Petrus or Lafite.
December is just around the corner and gosh, it's been a busy month! We've harvested the last of the grapes from our vineyards, and already seen winter's frost creep in, but with a new Knightor aperitif almost ready for sale and preparations begun for our Christmas parties and weddings, we are full steam ahead for a sparkling December.
On 24th November we had a Friday Feast themed around duck, a highly flavoursome and versatile ingredient that offers something a little more unique to your classic recipes. For those who aren't familiar with our Feast Nights, 1 or 2 Fridays a month we showcase a special theme, particular ingredient, or highlight one of the many fantastic local producers we work with - to which this month's highlight was the Cornish Duck Company.
Our lovely guests were welcomed into the bar and restaurant with a Knightor V&T (Vermouth and Tonic, as inspired by our celebratory news, more on this later!)
Nibbles and cocktail
Duck pastrami Reuben’s on rye
Duck bacon blt’s with avocado on brioche
Southern Indian curried duck leg with spiced cauliflower salad and cashew nuts
Glazed breast, confit neck & liver parfait, root vegetable dauphinois, celeriac purée, chicory choucroute & red currant jus
Raspberry & duck egg Mille feuille
(Duck egg custard, raspberry curd, raspberry parfait, mini meringues, duck fat pastry, duck egg sabayon)
Our next feast nights will be a Fish 'n' Fizz feast on Friday 22nd December and a Nordic & Scandi themed evening on Friday 29th December. For more information please see our Feast Nights Page
In addition to our Knightor Rose and Knightor White Vermouth, we are excited to tell you more about our new Knightor Dry blend, coming soon! Created with our special reserve wine and 24 botanicals, many of which are sourced in and around Knightor, our Dry Vermouth is distinctively fresh and aromatic. Like the Rose and White, the Dry is such a wonderfully complex drink that can be enjoyed on it's own, over ice, with a mixer, or in a cocktail - our personal favourite choice!
Do check out this video featuring our consultant winemaker, Salvatore, as he tells you a few important things about our new Knightor Dry Vermouth and what makes it so special...he almost lets slip our top secret too! Yikes!
In early March guests headed to Knightor for our Sri Lankan inspired Feast and a taste of winter sun in chilly Cornwall. Head Chef Joe's menu was inspired by the tiny island just off the southern tip of India. Sri Lankan cuisine is sometimes similar to Indian food however has a distinctive spin with a vivid array of flavour combinations, spicy curries, sweet onion relishes and palm sugar sweetened desserts.
Sri Lankan Feast Menu
6.30pm - In the bar
Ulundu Vada (spicy lentil doughnuts), mango chutney, coconut sambol
*Welcome cocktail - Knightor 9112 sparkling with Mango Rum
7.15/30pm - Feast
Roast gurnard and glazed curry tiger prawn, mustard, kohlrabi and cucumber salad
Knightor Trevannion, Cornwall, 2014
Sri lankan chicken curry served on the bone with ghee red rice, curried kale and beans, lemongrass & shallot sambol, yellow daal
Knightor Mena Hweg, Cornwall, 2013
Milk curd and jaggery syrup hopper (crystalised palm sugar syrup pancake)
Knightor Pinot Precoce, Cornwall, 2014
Watalappan (set coconut custard), cashews, cinnamon tuile, pomegranate
Knightor Rose Vermouth
At Knightor, we love wine and everything that comes along with wine-making. We love sharing this passion and so if you've gotten this far through our website, I trust that you are as enthusiastic as we are, with an interest in the behind the scenes magic.
On Monday, a large truck rolled up with Nicholas and Theirry from the Institut Oenologique de Champagne, having driven 14 hours to reach us. They brought specialist equipment to bottle our sparkling wine and we didn't miss a minute. The sun was shining, it was a beautiful day in St Austell and the team powered through, bottling an astonishing 18,000 bottles of Knightor sparkling wine. Helen, Jovi, Angie and Liam loaded the empty bottles; Salvatore whizzed about with the forklift, moving the pallets around; David, Dian, Adrian and Sam loaded the stillages with the full bottles and Nicholas and Theirry conducted the machines.
We also bottled a few limited run magnums! Cor, they were heavy. However, we've tucked the stillages away and won't peek for at least another 12 months.....
Updates and interesting things from all at Knightor winery!