Friday, March 02, 2012

Raising a Glass to Mother Nature.

It may not be the South of France, but a Skinningrove winemaker has proved that you can make some great wines from the best that mother nature can provide right here on our own doorsteps.

And, in a sure sign that spring has definitely arrived, Saltburn Farmers Market will be celebrating its first Market of the year on Saturday 10 March with a clutch of brand new bottles especially for the day.

Skinningrove Country Wines are one of the Market’s original and favourite stallholders – becoming familiar faces at every Market since its launch at Easter in 2008.

Former Eston Grammar School pupil Ian Coles, 57, settled in Skinningrove in 1998 after 25 years as a builder in London.

He made his first batch of wine as a hobby in 1999 and hasn’t looked back since – producing a range of over 50 wines from locally sourced ingredients including Elderberry, Peach, Cherry, Dandelion, Gorse, Oak Leaf, Raspberry, Gooseberry, Carrot, Apple, Lemon Balm and Strawberry.

Tucked away on a Skinningrove hillside cottage garden overlooking the sea, Ian said: “I make around 50 different types of wine every year, depending on what’s in season.

“Most ingredients are organic, grown by us, sourced locally from allotments and organic farms, or even gathered from the wild.

“All the wine is hand-made using recipes based on traditional methods, and we try to use recycled bottles wherever possible.

“We don’t use animal products, and we don’t add artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives.

“So it’s a very patient and natural way for the wine to mature compared to a heavily commercialised process, and most of our wine has been in the making for around 12-18 months before its ready for the Market.”

A regular stallholder at Whitby Market, his wines are also on the menu at Eaglescliffe’s award winning vegetarian restaurant The Waiting Room. He also has a growing list of wine buffs who buy his wines by the caseload online – but it’s at Saltburn Farmers’ Market that Ian has found one of his warmest welcomes.

Ian said: “Saltburn is pretty much one of the best Markets around. There’s always a great atmosphere amongst the shoppers and the stallholders, and I seem to have a lot of great regular customers there.

“I’m really looking forward to the first Market of the year, and will be bringing some new season Beetroot, Parsnip and Nettle wines along for the first time.

“The Nettle is a nice dry white, great chilled with pasta. The Parsnip is a full bodied white, great with a Sunday roast, and the Beetroot is a strong red - perfect with a hearty stew.”

Saltburn Farmers’ Market will also welcome a series of special guests this year after finding room for a small handful of new stallholders.

Market organiser Lorna Jackson said: “We mentioned a few weeks ago that we had space for an extra stallholder - and we’ve had a fantastic response with more than 20 great people getting in touch. So, rather than offer a place to just one stallholder, we’re going to have a sprinkling of special guests throughout the year to help keep everything fresh and in season.

“We can’t wait to get cracking again after our winter break – and we’re really looking forward to sampling the new wines that Ian will be bringing along on Saturday.

“It’s exactly the type of thing you can’t really get on the High Street every day, and really helps the Market stand out from the crowd.”

• Saltburn Farmers’ Market returns after a winter break for its first event of the year on Saturday 10 March. Over 25 stalls will feature a great mix of locally produced food and artworks. Based in the centre of town, just outside Sainsbury’s, near the Railway Station, between 9am-3pm.

• Further Markets will take place on the second Saturday of the month; April 14, May 12, June 9, July 14, September 8, October 13, November 10 and December 8.

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