Seabourn Club Herald - - UNCORKED - By Susy Atkins

Most English wine­mak­ers are first gen­er­a­tion in the busi­ness, of­ten trained as pro­fes­sion­als at wine-hub Plump­ton Col­lege in Sus­sex, but Sam Lindo was brought up at Camel Val­ley win­ery near Bod­min in Corn­wall, the son of pi­o­neer­ing Cor­nish wine­mak­ers Bob and Annie Lindo. He’s part of English wine no­bil­ity, if you like.

De­spite that, he ma­jored in math­e­mat­ics in the mid-90s, then worked for a year in Sin­ga­pore, when Camel Val­ley was a much smaller busi­ness. He al­ways worked at the win­ery dur­ing hol­i­days, though, and be­came in­creas­ingly drawn to the wine­mak­ing skills. He joined his fa­ther as as­sis­tant wine­maker in 2002, tak­ing some time out at a New Zea­land win­ery in 2006 to learn more about cooler-cli­mate tech­niques.

Today Camel Val­ley makes on aver­age 130,000 bot­tles a year. Sam has been head wine­maker for nearly a decade, though Bob still works with him as part of the team. The exquisitely made sparklers, both brut and rosé, are the stars of a range which also in­cludes very fine still whites (their dry still bac­chus is es­pe­cially de­li­cious).

Sam has a par­tic­u­lar love for pinot noir — a key grape in his sparkling wines. “I re­mem­ber the scent and fla­vor of the grapes from an early age,” he says. “English-grown pinot noir has a del­i­cacy al­most like a light jelly made with straw­ber­ries and rasp­ber­ries — it’s quite unique.” Ask him more about his job and he cites the 12-minute “com­mute” (i.e., walk) through the vine­yards to work as a ma­jor draw! If there’s a down­side to the work, it is surely the un­pre­dictable English cli­mate, but Sam says he gets “quite ex­cited” when the weather presents a chal­lenge. “It forces you into a dif­fer­ent space and that’s where you make dis­cov­er­ies about blend­ing and so on. And har­vest­time is very spe­cial. The sheer an­tic­i­pa­tion and pace over six in­tense weeks is amaz­ing.”

Bob set the stan­dard for ma­jor awards at the win­ery when he won a pres­ti­gious In­ter­na­tional Wine Chal­lenge gold medal for Camel Val­ley’s Corn­wall sparkler in 2005. Sam has now picked up an im­pres­sive clutch of awards as head wine­maker, in­clud­ing in 2007, Wine­maker of the Year from the UK Vine­yards com­pe­ti­tion, a gold medal in De­canter World Wine Awards in 2009 for Camel Val­ley Corn­wall Sparkling Pinot Noir, and, most mag­nif­i­cently per­haps, the tro­phy for Best In­ter­na­tional Tra­di­tional Method Sparkling Wine in Verona in 2010, ahead of sev­eral big-name Cham­pagnes. And in 2017, the Camel Val­ley Brut Sparkling 2013 was in­tro­duced in Bri­tish Air­ways first­class cab­ins.

With the new gen­er­a­tion of tal­ented young wine­mak­ers like Sam, the fu­ture of English wine looks, well, pos­i­tively sparkling!

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