Cornwall vineyard receives second royal warrant - Fruit & Vine

Cornwall vineyard receives second royal warrant: ‘Top-quality product is secret of our success’

A Cornwall vineyard is one of seven businesses that have been granted the first royal warrants from Queen Camilla.

Camel Valley Vineyard near Bodmin became the first English wine producer to be granted a royal warrant back in 2018.
Father and son, Bob and Sam Lindo, photo by Camel Valley Vineyard.

Camel Valley Vineyard near Bodmin became the first English wine producer to be granted a royal warrant back in 2018, after supplying the then Prince Charles’ Royal Household for a number of years.  

In May, the King and Queen granted their first Royal Warrants of Appointment of the new reign.  

The grants were made to companies drawn from those previously holding a Royal Warrant of Appointment to His Majesty as Prince of Wales, who began granting warrants in 1980. 

Companies were reviewed, and 145 were granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment to HM The King. Of these, seven companies were also granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment to HM The Queen. 

Phenomenal success within three decades 

When ex-RAF pilot Bob Lindo and his wife Annie planted their first 8,000 vines in 1989, they never dreamed of the phenomenal success they would achieve within three decades.  

They had bought their farm in the heart of the Cornish countryside several years earlier, seeking a change from service life and the perfect place to bring up their young family. The couple initially farmed sheep and cattle.   

They said that each summer they watched the grass turn brown on the sun-drenched slopes of the Camel Valley and wondered if vines might enjoy such an aspect.

Living in the vineyard

The couple built a winery and equipped it with the finest equipment they could afford.  

Mrs Lindo said the early years were not easy: “We practically lived in the vineyard, doing all the work by hand, and when it came to harvest time, it was just us and a few friends for picking, then Bob would stay up all night crushing the grapes.   

“But we loved it, always striving for perfection in the vineyard and the winery, and then we won a medal in the national English wine competition for our first wine, so we knew we were doing something right.”

Camel Valley Vineyard.

Finest moment  

More awards followed over the years, with Camel Valley wines consistently winning medals at both national and international level.

In 2002, the vineyard owners won the Waitrose Drinks Producer of the Year Award, and the following year, they won the South West Business Challenge award for Creating Wealth in the Rural Community.

Mr Lindo continued his work as a winemaker, but the couple also decided to employ a small team of full-time staff to help in the vineyard and a new state-of-the-art winery.

This is when they started making Cornwall’s first traditional method sparkling wine as well as still wines.

The winery’s finest moment came in 2005 with an International Wine Challenge Gold Medal for Camel Valley ‘Cornwall’ sparkling wine.

Mr Lindo said: “I was so proud to have won this, as our wine was up against the finest wines in the whole world and was the only gold medal awarded to a non-Champenoise wine. I really felt that I had set the standard for generations to come.”

New generation aboard  

And now the second-generation winemaker is working hard at Camel Valley.   

Sam Lindo, a maths graduate who had seemed destined for a career in the city, instead decided to make his life in Cornwall and returned to the family farm.  

He has now taken over as winemaker, with a little help from his dad now and again.  

In 2007, they won the UK Winemaker of the Year Award as well as the Wine of the Year Trophy and Sparkling Wine Trophy in the UK Vineyards annual competition for English wines.  

However, the best was still to come, and in 2009, Sam Lindo won the trophy and a gold medal in the International Wine Challenge for Camel Valley Bacchus.   

Simultaneously, he won a gold medal in the Decanter World Wine Awards for Camel Valley Sparkling ‘Cornwall’ Pinot Noir.   

Later in the same year, he won the English Wine Producers Trophy and the Waitrose Trophy.  

Mr Lindo said that when his son came in second in the World Sparkling Wine Championships to Bollinger in Italy in 2009, he “really did take his hat off to him”.  

He added: “However, when he won the Trophy for Best International Traditional Method Sparkling Wine in 2010 in Verona, ahead of Bollinger and Roederer, I nearly ate it.”  

In 2018, the vineyard was awarded the International Wine Challenge Award for ‘raising the quality of English wines’.

Father and son, Bob and Sam Lindo, photo by Camel Valley Vineyard.

Secret to success

The owners said that they were fortunate to have started their wine business at a time when there was a resurgence of interest in local food and drink, but that is only part of the story.

Mr Lindo said: “Our wine is sold at Rick Stein’s and throughout Cornwall, but it also goes a lot further afield.

“For example, we supply Waitrose nationally, Fortnum’s and Hakkasan in London, and even export to Japan.

“You’d be surprised how many users say they first tried a glass of our wine at Tate Modern in London and felt they just had to come and visit the vineyard.

“I think making a top-quality product is the secret of our success.”

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