Raising a glass of Chateau Loughlin to honour North Wales food festival saviour Colin

A new wine is being launched to honour the memory of the man who saved the popular Llangollen Food Festival – and will be used to raise money for his favourite charity.

Friends and colleagues were devastated by the sudden death of the “larger than life” former wine distributor, Colin Loughlin, 76  after he suffered a heart attack at his home on the outskirts of the town in February.

There was standing room only when hundreds of people turned out to pay their last respects at his funeral at Pentrebychan crematorium near Wrexham.

The red wine, appropriately called Chateau Loughlin, will be unveiled at this year’s food festival that’s being held on Saturday and Sunday,  October 19 and 20.

The label features a colourful caricature of Colin in a mural on the side of the Llangollen pavilion where the event is held every year.

The proceeds will be used to help fund a defibrillator on a new boat, the Lady Winifred, that’s recently been launched by the Vale of Llangollen Canal Boat Trust which Colin supported for many years.

Back in 2011, Colin came to rescue of the Llangollen Food Festival and led a team of volunteers who took it over when the previous organiser pulled the plug on the event.

Since then the event has gone from strength to strength and has been named as one of the top 10 food festivals in the UK by both the Daily Telegraph and Independent newspapers.

His contribution as the chair of the festival committee has been celebrated with a painting of him in a mural on the side of the Llangollen pavilion.

A native of Wrexham, Colin ran a wine distribution company called Whitehouse Wines in Coedpoeth before going into business with Lorraine Hughes.

They bought an existing company called Megan’s Kitchen which makes Welsh Cakes.

Lorraine continued to run the business after Colin retired five years ago, before stepping down as festival committee chair in 2016.

She said: “Colin was larger than life and loved telling stories and listening to stories.

“He was the force behind the Llangollen Food Festival and we were all grateful when he returned and started attending committee meetings again a couple of years ago after resigning the chair in 2016.”

Fellow committee member Pip Gale, who also runs Gales Wine Bar in Llangollen, sourced the Chateau Loughlin wine.

Pip said: “I first met Colin many years ago when he was a wine distributor and I bought wine from him.

“He is much missed still, and it was one of the biggest honours to be asked by him personally to join the committee for the food festival, and this does feel like a way to pay back all of the work that he put into that festival, and all of the work he did for me.

 “My brother Andrew has done a great job in designing the label and the jolly look on Colin’s face is the way he should be remembered.

“Chateau Loughlin is a lovely, easy drinking wine from the South of France, made with predominantly with Syrah grapes.  I’m sure Colin would approve.

“If people like it at the food festival we will have it here at Gales afterwards and raise more money for the Canal Boat Trust.”

Another committee member, Phil Davies, has many fond memories of chatting with Colin over a glass of wine.

He said: “It is very appropriate that we are raising money in his memory with red wine because that was Colin’s preferred drink.

“Colin was a hugely popular figure in Llangollen as was shown at his funeral when people were queuing outside the crematorium.

“We were both members of Canal Boat Trust and Colin did a tremendous amount of work for them because it was very close to his heart, so it is fitting that the money raised at his funeral and anything raise from this wine will go towards a defibrillator for the Lady Winifred.

“He was a very kind, generous man and he will be sorely missed by everyone at this year’s event but we will be raising a glass of Chateau Loughlin in his honour.”