As you sit and savour a zippy glass of Annie’s Anniversary Brut, you may find yourself wondering, who is Annie? And what special occasion does her anniversary cuvée commemorate? Well, the Annie in question is Annie Lindo, co-founder, with her husband Bob, of Cornwall’s much-cherished Camel Valley vineyard.
When she and Bob decided to plant 5,000 vines on a sunny, south facing slope of their 82-acre sheep farm on the River Camel back in 1989, it was just ‘for fun’, apparently.
“Our neighbours thought we were mad, digging thousands of holes for grapes,” says Annie.
Twenty-two years later, though, and the Lindo trophy cabinet has long since overflowed. And while, clearly, the family is still having fun with its grape growing, they’ve created, almost incidentally, a serious wine business that’s raised the game of English winemaking and added a strong new string to Cornwall’s touristic and cultural bow.
Medals, plaudits and framed certificates now jostle for space on top of the cupboards in the Lindo family kitchen and their wines now take on rivals from all over the world and win. Their son, Sam, just 13 when Annie and Bob planted their first crop, is regularly crowned UK winemaker of the year.
Remarkably, Annie has been single-handedly tending those vines ever since she planted them back in 1989, making Camel Valley one of only a handful of vineyards in the world to be pruned by only one person.
The anniversary in question was her 20th year, in 2009, of personally pruning each and every plant, commemorating her 100,000th vine prune, and marking the one millionth cut she’s made with her trusty secateurs.
“She really does treat each vine as an individual,” says Sam, “and thinks very carefully about the pruning.
“She’s an avid Liverpool supporter and one of my great memories of her growing up is the sight of her red hat, moving slowly up and down the rows and rows and rows of vines.”
Cheers. Here’s to Annie.