Cornish tipple-tours & tastings
Following an enjoyable afternoon at the Colwith Farm distillery's Gin Masterclass I decided to summarise the vineyard, brewery and distillery tours available in Cornwall. These usually include a guided tour and chance to taste some of the products. Drivers are generally offered miniatures to take home. For more hands-on experiences there are the Gin School and Gin Masterclasses at Colwith Farm and the Brew Days at the Driftwood Spars Brewery.
Colwith Farm Distillery produce vodka from potatoes grown on their farm and this is then used to create gin by the addition of juniper and other botanicals. The gin masterclass takes 3 hours and started with a welcome drink and tour showing the equipment used to process the potatoes into vodka, and the stills used to create the Colwith Farm Gins. This was followed by tasting samples of their gins and vodkas.
We were then given a small copper still, some base alcohol, a range of botanicals and instructions as to how to combine these to make gin. Whilst our potion was distilling we had a very tasty cocktail. We finished by bottling our gin to take home. It was an interesting and enjoyable afternoon although the resulting gin probably wouldn't win any prizes.
Colwith Farm is in Lanlivery, about 1 hour 15 mins drive from Halsetown. The nearby Crown Inn is a good choice for a meal before or after the gin tour.
The closest Vineyard to St Ives is the Polgoon Vineyard and orchard near Penzance, they do tours and tastings throughout the year and also have a shop with various Cornish goodies as well as their own products.
The Pocketful of stones distillery in Penzance make Caspyn gin among other products and run tours and tastings.
The Driftwood Spars Brewery in St Agnes offer the chance to spend a full day getting involved in the brewing process, as well as shorter tours and tasting sessions.
Healeys the makers of "Rattler" offer a range of tours of their orchards, cellars and distillery.
Skinner's Brewery, probably most well known for "Betty Stogs" do tours and tastings at their brewery in Truro.
The Knightor Winery, near the Eden Project, Camel Valley Vineyard, near Bodmin and Trevibban Mill Vineyard & Orchard, near Padstow all have a range of tours of their vineyards and orchards, plus tastings.