Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Family

Richard and Siw Evans bought Llaethliw in 2008. Both are local to the area having been brought up in the Teifi and Aeron valleys. They have two children Megan and Jac. The Vineyard idea came to Richard on an inspiration after delving into the diversification of farming and climate change. After a series of soil tests and drainage schemes, 6500 vines were planted in 2009. Jac completed a Viticulture course 2010-2012 at Plumpton college and returned home to manage the vineyard. A further 10 acres 7,000 vines was planted in April, 2016

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The Logo

Llaethliw – A 79 Ton schooner built in 1846 at Traethgwyn Beach, New Quay. The Llaethliw was built for the Squire of Llaethliw Estate, Jenkin Beynon. He sold shares in the ship to local businessmen and farmers to finance the build leaving himself with 6 shares. She carried supplies of coal, colm, lime, wood and slates between local coastal ports. She was operated by Evan Timothy and Co and Captained by John Davies of New Quay and the only ship built in New Quay with a Welsh name. In 1882, she floundered on a journey to Limerick during a severe storm and was swept ashore onto the Goodwick Sands, Fishguard. The crew were rescued by lifeboat with no Loss of Life.

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The History

The last duel in Wales took place at Dan-warin fields between Llandyfyriog and Adpar in Cardiganshire on Saturday Sept. 10th 1814.

(Duelling became illegal in 1844).

It all started in the Old Salutation Inn, a popular hostelry overlooking the river Teifi and the bridge in Adpar where Thomas Heslop, a West Indian gentleman, then living in Carmarthen, was staying. He and others had been invited to go on a partridge shoot by John Beynon, a local solicitor of Llwyncadfor Farm near Llandyfriog on Thursday September 8th 1814. It is believed that John Beynon was the son of Thomas Beynon of Llaethliw. That evening after the shoot John Beynon invited thirty six year old Thomas Heslop, together with others to spend an evening at the Old Salutation, to dine and drink. A dispute arose on the subject of the day’s shooting.

Heslop claimed that he had had a very bad days sport, because he not been allowed to shoot when and where he pleased. He blamed the Cardigan gentlemen (Cardis) present. Beynon tried to diffuse this outburst by making derogatory remarks about the barmaid. This inflamed Heslop, as he fancied the barmaid, and objected strongly to John Beynon’s coarse comments and turned round and called the solicitor a damned villain and scoundrel and challenged him to a duel. John Beynon accepted the challenge and two days later in the early morning of Saturday September 10th the two men, together with their seconds, John Walters and James Hughes and also a surgeon, John Williams, met in Dan-warin fields through which ran a stream. Standing one on either side of the stream, with their backs towards each other, they prepared to walk the ten statutory paces, before turning and firing.

John Beynon only walked five paces before turning and shooting Heslop in the back, mortally wounding him. He was pronounced dead at the scene by John Williams the surgeon who had witnessed the duel. John Beynon was prosecuted and appeared before his betters in Cardigan Court. The Judges notes (National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth) for that day state : Rex. versus John Beynon, John Walters and James Hughes on a charge of Manslaughter. John Beynon for shooting Thomas Heslop on Saturday September 10th with a leaden bullet discharged from a pistol and John Walters and James Hughes present for abetting and assist-ing in the shooting. John Beynon was found guilty of manslaughter, but was only fined, probably due to the kind words expressed by his solicitor friends and string pulling by the local Justices of the Peace.

This verdict did not go down at all well in Adpar and Newcastle Emlyn the local people knew that an injustice had been done and were after Beynon’s blood and he had to go into hiding in a cellar in a house near the bridge in Newcastle Emlyn before escaping to America. Nothing more was heard of him. Not so Thomas Heslop, he was buried by the Rev. John Williams, the vicar of Llandyfriog, in the Churchyard on Monday 12th September 1814.

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Dylan Thomas – Under Milk Wood

Llaethliw translated means the Œcolour of milk. A nearby stream running whose waters have a whitish appearance like milk.

Dylan Thomas lived near the banks of the river Aeron in the 1940s, at a secluded mansion called Plas Gelli, just outside Talsarn. He called the Aeron valley “the most precious place in the world.” The Dylan Thomas Trail follows the river from Talsarn to Aberaeron. This trail passes close to Llaethliw.

Thomas is remembered by most for his final play ‘Under Milk Wood’. Started in New Quay and partially written at Southleigh near Oxford, then finally completed in New York minutes before its first public performance, ‘Under Milk Wood’ has stimulated a long-running debate as to which town is the model for ‘Llareggub’.

Local Author David Thomas notes that many of the characters (from New Quay) were written in long before Dylan Thomas ever visited Laugharne. He has clearly established a strong case for New Quay being the model for ‘Llareggub’ while the name ‘Under Milk Wood’ is probably taken from farms called ‘Wernllaeth,’ ŒLlaethdy’ and ŒLlaethliw’ where Dylan was taken by his good friend, the Aberaeron vet Tommy Herbert.

Dylan and Caitlin’s daughter Aeronwy was named after the river Aeron.

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The Estate – Plas Llaethliw

The first recorded family to reside at Llaethliw were descended from Rhys ddu Sgweier Digri to Cadifor ap Dinawal. Lewis Dafydd and Jane, his wife, had a son Hugh Lewis. The marriage settlement in 1716 of John Lewis, the son of Hugh and Anne Lewis and Magdalen Jenkins, his first wife, included Plas Llaethliw.

John and Magdalen lived at Llaethliw after the death of his father in 1732. Llaethliw appears to have been sold in 1760 as Francis Jones notes states that the property was owned and occupied by Thomas Beynon. The Beynon’s lived at the property for a further hundred years. Following Thomas came David and then his son Jenkin Beynon (1781-1849).

In the 1841 Census Jenkin Beynon was living at Llaethlliw with M.A. Beynon (his wife) and 3 female servants, with 2 male servants living outdoors(farm lofts). When Jenkin died it was left to his nephew and niece, the Rev. David Beynon Evans(1817-1855) and his sister. After David’s death Llaethlliw passed to his brother the Rev. Evan Evans (1820-1863).

The entire estate was sold to tenants at the turn of the century.

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The Vineyard & Wine

Initial plans were formulated in August 2008. The field was chosen and soil tests were carried out and sent off for analysis. Through further consultation with Mr. Derek Pritchard, Winegrowers Supplies, Solaris (3000), Rondo (1000), Regent(1000) and Orion (275) vines were ordered and an arrangement for planting was made.

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The field in 2008 prior to planting the Vineyard

This was followed by further cultivation and Mr Ernst Weis from Germany and his team of planters arrived in May 2009 for the planting. The orientation, row spacing and inter-vine distances were decided and the laser set up. After a busy afternoon and evening, the first 5000 vines were planted.

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The field was deep ploughed in January 2009

Mr Ernst and team left the next morning only to return after a terrible car accident involving their own vehicles. Work continued with a team of six (6) volunteers for a further week laying down the plastic mulch, rabbit nets and galvanised canes. The weather held up until the last day when we had continuous rain.

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A local contractor, Mr Paul Harries continued with trellis erection which included wires, anchor and support poles.

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Growth of the vines was slow in the bottom part of the field and it was decided to further drain this section. The Contractor drained this section over the winter of 2009.

In 2010, a further 1500 Orion were planted by Mr Ernst Weis to compete the top end of the vineyard. We experimented in this new section with 2 metre row spacing .

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The vineyard now consisting of 6500 vines of Solaris, Rondo, Regent and Orion was completed in 2010 and has been disease free without any need for chemical intervention. Our first grapes were picked in October of 2013 and our first 2000 bottles of White, Red and Rose arrived in May 2014. The land acquired its organic status early 2016 and our first organic wine will be the 2017 vintage.

The vineyard was expanded in 2016 with a further planting of 7000 vines. These consist of Bacchus, Seyval Blanc, Phoenix, Pinot Noir, Rondo and Madeleine Angevine. A further 4500 vines will be added in 2017. These vines are expected to produce in 2020- weather permitting!

The Wine

We grow Nine different varieties of grapes

White Grapes- Solaris,  Orion, Seyval Blanc, Bacchus, Phoenix and Madeleine Angevine

Red Grapes – Rondo, Regent and  Pinot Noir

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Solaris

Solaris was created in 1975 at the grape breeding institute in Freiburg, Germany by Norbert Becker. Solaris is an early ripening variety with good resistance against fungal diseases and frost. It gives wines which have fruity and perfumed aromas with hints of banana and hazelnuts, with medium acidity. It is considered to be suitable for dessert wines, as it ripens to high must weights. In cooler climate, with less sugar contens, also as a dry wine suitable for fish, schrimps or chicken.

Advantages:
Very early harvest, high ripeness. High yielding, reliable in a poor climate. Should not need any spraying. Nice wine, develops early. An excellent variety.

Disadvantages:
Very strong growth requiring a lot of summer leaf-work. It is beneficial to cool the fermentation. In England it can suffer from botrytis bunch rot near to harvest, so a spray against this (before bunches close up) may be beneficial.

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Orion

Orion is a hybrid white wine variety bred in 1964 by Professor Gerhardt Alleweldt of the Geilweilerhof Institute for Grape Breeding at Siebeldingen in Baden, Germany, from a crossing of Optima and Villard Blanc. It was first cultivated in Pfalz, Germany, but is now principally grown in England, where it is well suited to the cooler climate.

The variety has soft, balanced acidity and is often blended to produce crisp, light, aromatic wines. Grassy and herbal notes are most common to these. Orion is also sometimes used in sparkling wines.

Suitable for English garden salad with potatoes, runner beans, spring onions, tomatoes, cheese and mint.

Advantages:
Very high yield. Spraying is hardly ever necessary, so ideal for Organic Wine. The wine is very easy to drink, and is ideal for blending with strong muscat varieties such as Schönburger.

Disadvantages:
Strong growth of side-shoots. Wines are best drunk young.

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Rondo

Rondo is a dark-skinned interspecific hybrid variety which performs very strongly in cold climates. The variety is a crossing of Saint-Laurent and Zarya Severa – an obscure Russian variety prized for its frost-hardiness. Rondo was first bred in the former Czechoslovakia in 1964. As well as its ability to reliably ripen, Rondo is also well regarded because it is highly resistant to diseases and produces good-quality, full-bodied, deep red wines.

Advantages:
Very high quality full-bodied dark red wine. Can be grown on any site which is not prone to late spring frost. Consistently high yield and ripeness. A tribute to the life’s work of Professor Becker.

Disadvantages:
In the UK in certain years (according to the weather) it can be attacked by wasps, as with all early ripening grape varieties (e.g. Siegerrebe, Madeleine Angevine).

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Regent

Regent is a dark-skinned hybrid variety that was developed in Germany in 1967 by crossing Chambourcin and Diana. It ripens early and favours cooler climates. Like most hybrid varieties it produces good yields and is highly resistant to disease – some say it as the most disease resistant of all red grapes.

It was named after the Regent Diamond, part of the French Royal Treasury. It produces densely-colored, full-bodied red wines with dark berry fruit aromas and flavors. It also has a thick skin and an abundance of tannins.

Website Launch

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We are very excited to have finally launched our new website after almost a full year in development! As you can see, its looking pretty good around here.

A few of our goals with the new website were to make it faster and easier for our customers to get to know us and our wine better. If you take a gander around the site I think you’ll get a pretty good idea of who we are and what we do.

As always, if you have any questions or need help you can contact us at jac@llaethliw.co.uk – or leave us some thoughts in the comments below.

Jac