As soon as I pulled up to Cairn o' Mohr Winery in Perthshire I realised that this was no ordinary place. Firstly it's in Scotland which is not exactly known for it's contribution to the wine world, secondly there is not a vineyard in sight. However, it is neither of these things that strike me as the most unusual, instead it is the carved tree people, the bursts of colour, the psychedelic murals and entertainingly random signs.
Before I even step through the door I know I am going to love this place.
Bizarre, weird, wacky and strange are all terms I'm sure come to mind when people first arrive here. I prefer quirky and humorous. I get the feeling that the owners would be upset if these adjectives didn't come up as it is this quirkiness and original approach to running the small family business that has helped it grow substantially from it's humble beginnings in 1987.
Wines produced from local berries, flowers and leaves in Scotland is always going to be a hard sell but with their tongue in cheek attitude Cairn o' Mohr have grown year on year and in 2013 produced approx 240,000 bottles of their now established and award winning Scottish brand.
Their Winery has a well stocked shop with plenty of tasters available, there is an onsite cafe using local produce and on Wednesdays and Sundays they run hour long tours which was my main reason for visiting.
I have been a fan of Cairn o' Mohr wines for quite a few years, I find the Elderberry a good tonic for colds (just my opinion not a medical fact!) and the strawberry is a summer favourite so I was really interested to find out the story and process behind the label.
The tour takes you around the converted farm steading and in the first room we were shown some oak leaves picked that day which were about to be transformed into their next amazing batch of wine.
We walked from room to room passing a variety of machines which often looked like museum pieces as the processing method here is kept as simple as possible with only a few workers and equipment that does the job, this doesn't necessarily mean the most modern items!
My favourite machine was the bottling device which fills the bottle, adds the screw top and label before someone manually adds the foil seal.
After a few more interesting stops and humorous commentary we made our way to the Tasting room where we got to sample ten of the flavours, yes I repeat ten! I wasn't driving so happily indulged in the very generous measures.
We worked our way from dry to sweet trying flavours such as Spring Oak Leaf, Gooseberry, Raspberry and Elderflower and I have to say I found them all very drinkable which may say more about me than the wine? We then headed onto the shop for a few more samples from their the cider range.
I'm sure it was a clever ploy to get us all tipsy and herd us into the shop for more free alcohol but personally I don't mind that kind of sales tactic and yes it worked as we all grabbed handfuls of bottles and headed to the till, it would have been rude not to!
Afterwards I enjoyed a walk around the Winery to have a closer look at the artwork, elderflowers and beautiful views. This was a really enjoyable and different afternoon out and a great way of learning about and supporting a fantastic Scottish business.
Tours run Wednesdays and Sundays at 2.15pm from April to October. They cost £5 for an adult and advance booking is not required.
If you can't make the tour a visit to the shop and cafe is still worthwhile if you are in the area.
For full details visit the Cairn o' Mohr website at http://www.cairnomohr.com/
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