Bodnant’s big wine tasting to be a vintage affair in aid of hospice

Wine lovers will be raising a glass or two in aid of a children’s hospice.

All the proceeds from the official opening of the new Wine Shop at Bodnant Welsh Food will to the Tŷ Gobaith hospice nearby in the Conwy Valley.

The connoisseurs will have the chance to sample over 50 fine wines from across the world during the international tasting session running throughout the day on Wednesday, April 2.

The Spring Tasting in Bodnant’s stylish Pochin Room from 11am-8pm, is being masterminded by Wine Shop and Wine Cellar Manager Tim Watson, who explained: “Wine tastings don’t usually give people the opportunity to sample so many types of wine as we will have on offer that day.

“Michael Vick, our wine consultant who has helped me to organise the event, and I are very proud to be offering 50 wines from all around the world, including Australia and New Zealand and some possibly less familiar but excellent varieties from countries such as Russia.

“We’ll also be inviting people to try our wide selection of Welsh wines, which are becoming increasingly popular these days.

“A team of experts, including myself, will be on hand to provide people with all the information they need to make their selection.

“It should be a brilliant occasion and I’m delighted that the proceeds will be going to Ty Gobaith which was established in 2004 to provide care and support to life-limited children, young people and their families from across north Wales.”

It offers a range of services, including respite and end-of-life care 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Bodnant Welsh Food is a strong supporter of the hospice and has just handed over a cheque for £850 to its Fundraising Manager, Sarah Kearsely-Wooller MBE. The money was raised by Bodnant’s carrier bag charge and children’s Halloween party.

Sarah said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Bodnant Welsh Food, with their support including acting as hosts for our sell-out clay pigeon shoot on May 21 as well as well as providing donations from the carrier bag charge.

“In addition we are involved in their own events, with proceeds from the children’s Halloween party and now the Spring Wine Tasting.

“At Ty Gobaith – just 2.5 miles away – we are indebted to Bodnant Welsh Food for their continued commitment to  our work at the hospice, caring for life threatened babies, children, young people and their families.

“We really enjoy working alongside the Bodnant Welsh Food team and will do, especially in 2014,  when we are celebrating our 10th birthday.”

Tim, 37, who is originally from Bangor and now lives in Colwyn Bay, came to the world of fine wine after deciding to give his life a new focus after enjoying a successful career in television.

He explained: “I began working in TV production for the BBC in the year 2000, starting out as a runner in the development department and working my way up through the ranks.

“In 2003 I became a casting director with the drama department at the BBC’s headquarters at White City during which time I helped find faces to appear in some of the UK’s best loved drama series, including Eastenders and Doctors.

“Although I enjoyed the job, a few years ago I decided on a change of career direction. I’d caught the wine bug after visiting vineyards while travelling around Australia and New Zealand some years previously, so I went for wine.

“I moved back to North Wales from London in 2009 and had my specialist wine training with a major company in Bangor.

“Another reason for coming back to North Wales was that my wife Nicole and I have two young sons, Charlie George, who is four, and Jack Tomos, who is 18 months old, and we wanted them to have the same sort of lovely childhood that I had in this area.”

Tim added: “I was lucky enough to get the job at Bodnant and have spent a lot of  putting it together with the help of Michael Vick, our wine consultant. I’m in charge of the shop and the wine cellar which serves our Hayloft Restaurant.

“The shop is well stocked with wines from across the world, ranging in price from £5.50 to £118 a bottle, however I’d say that 35 to 40 per cent of our wines are under £10.

“All the bottles are displayed with a full description of what they are and how they taste and if people want more information about a particular bottle I’m always on hand to tell them all they need to know.

“I can also advise people who come into the shop on which wine is the perfect accompaniment to different foods. I believe you’ve got to get the right balance of food and wine.

“Our selection of Welsh wines is becoming increasingly popular and we have three producers whose products we stock, from Pembrokeshire, Montgomeryshire and Monmouthshire.

“We even have the Welsh equivalent of champagne, a sparkling wine made by the champagne method.

“Wine is an exciting world and I learn something new about it every day.

“For the Spring Tasting on April 2 we’ll have five of our suppliers on hand in the Pochin Room to give people all the information they need about the various wines available for sampling.”

Bodnant’s Spring Wine Tasting has a £5 entry fee and spaces can now be booked by calling 01492 651937.

Bodnant runs a wine school offering courses in wine discovery, appreciation, flavour association and food and wine matching. It also has a wine club which meets on the first Wednesday of every month.

Detailed information about all wine courses is available online at: . For bookings email:, or call Bodnant Wine School on: 01492 651937/651100.

For more information about Ty Gobaith please visit 

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