Bodnant’s wine tasting serves up cash boost to Conwy children’s hospice

Wine lovers have helped to raise hundreds of pounds for a North Wales children’s hospice by sampling their favourite tipple.

Customers took the chance to help Bodnant Welsh Food’s new Wine Shop raise £510 for Tŷ Gobaith hospice nearby in the Conwy Valley.

Wine tasting at Bodnant Farm Food, from left, Tim calcroft, Tim Watson and David and Valerie Noakes.

The Wine Cellar held a Spring Tasting session to show off the wide range available at the new store at Bodnant’s base, Furnace Farm, at Tal-y-Cafn, Conwy.

Wine Shop and Wine Cellar Manager Tim Watson said: “It was a fantastic turn-out. We had loads of people through the door, a mix of pre-booked tickets and people who dropped in on the spur of the moment, while visiting Bodnant Welsh Food centre.

“There was a mix of regular Bodnant customers, some of whom brought friends along to see where they get their wines from, to people from around the UK who were in the area.

“It’s been a great way to show off what wines we have on offer, as many people then headed to the Wine Cellar to buy a bottle of what they’d just sampled. For the five wine suppliers who came along on the day, it was a great chance to meet their customers and talk about their range, as they are very knowledgeable and have often visited the vineyards themselves.”

Among the connoisseurs taking the chance to sample over 50 fine wines from across the world were friends Dorothy Marshall from Eglwysbach and Ann Boulton from nearby Maenan, who are both retired.

“I usually prefer dry wine, but this has been a chance for me to try reds and rosé wines as well, plus different white wine grape varieties. It’s been a pleasure sampling the wines. Plus this is a lovely way to support Tŷ Gobaith, which does so  such good work – I’m always happy to do what I can for the hospice,” said Dorothy.

For Ann, it was a chance to step away from her usual tipple of rosé wine. “There’s a great range of wines here, and I can’t wait to try some of them. This is an excellent way of sampling a wine before deciding which one to buy, as well as raising money for Tŷ Gobaith,” said Ann.

Retired company directors Valerie and David Noakes took time out from a holiday break on Anglesey to sample the wines.

“We came to Bodnant Welsh Food centre on Sunday and saw the Spring Tasting advertised, so decided to come back and try some wines,” said Valerie. “I hadn’t heard about the hospice before but this sounds an excellent and novel way to raise funds for its work.”

David added: “We live in Kent and so we often go over to France for the day or short break to try wines, visit vineyards and pick up some bargains. We like to try a range as we tend to match wines with food. However, we’ve come across some wines we haven’t tried before –  plus a New Zealand wine  from a Marlborough vineyard that I visited when we were staying there. The wine supplier had been as well, so it brought back some great memories.”

The Spring Tasting had more than 50 wines, from Europe, South America, Australia, New Zealand plus Russia and Wales, selected by Tim and Bodnant wine consultant Michael Vick, who manages the wine list in the Hayloft, Bodnant’s restaurant.

The pair also run Bodnant’s wine school, which offers 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.

Tŷ Gobaith 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, with money from its carrier bag charge going to the charity.

Fundraising Manager, Sarah Kearsely-Wooller MBE 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.

“At Tŷ 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 more information about Tŷ Gobaith please visit or ring 01492 596 581.

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