Category Archives: Uncategorized

August Bank Holiday Special

Every Bank Holiday weekend, we lose the run of ourselves and give a 10% discount on purchases of any 6 (or more) bottles of wine. The offer obviously excludes any wines already on special offer, and sparkling wines.

It’s a great opportunity to stock up on some of your favourite wines, or buy in advance if you have a get-together on the way. We like long weekends, so the offer applies from Thursday through to Monday.

Our Corporate Services

Corporate gifts are something of a speciality for us. From a well-presented single bottle, to twinpacks, magnums, hampers and full cases of wine, we can supply a wide range of gifts tailored to match the situation.

Some tips on choosing the right gift
Sometimes it’s worth considering quality above quantity. A few years ago a customer told us about a corporate gift he had received for Christmas. He was very much into his wine, and knew his stuff. One of his biggest corporate partners gave him a gift of a case of wine, and he ended up throwing it all down the sink. It was all basic ‘supermarket’ wine. His comment was that the same money spent on a single bottle would have been wonderful.

Some wines can impress simply by what’s on the label – Chateauneuf du Pape and St. Emilion Grand Cru spring to mind. Of course, just because it says that on the label, it doesn’t mean the wine is any good. But when you do get a good one, and the recipient is knowledgeable about wine, the impact is strong – job done. If the recipient is a wine connoisseur it is worth considering a gift of one or two bottles of wine rather than six or even a full case. The trick is to buy them a wine that they wouldn’t ordinarily buy for themselves – these are wines that they will cherish and remember who gave it to them.

For general gifts on a budget, twinpacks work well, and now that the country is emerging from the hell of the past few years, gestures like this are greatly appreciated again. We think it’s a good idea to steer clear of obvious wines (e.g. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc). Some people will have it in their minds that they don’t like one or the other. So, in order to ensure that they won’t have a sinking feeling when they see the wines, choose a wine whose variety is not as obvious, and blends are good in this regard. Also, something different is always intriguing.

For these general gifts, it is also a good idea to give wines that can be enjoyed without food but are robust enough to be enjoyed with most meals. A really good ‘food’ wine can be disappointing if it is opened to go with TV, and since it’s impossible to know when the recipient will open it, a wine that ticks both boxes is a better option.

Wine Tasting Nights

For Sports and Social Clubs, a Wine Tasting Night can be great fun. We have done many of them over the years and they work really well. We supply the wines – usually up to eight different wines – and talk through the basics; how to taste wine, how to spot faults in wine and how to understand the more complicated labels.

Spot prizes and quizzes on the night add to the fun, and we also offer a discount on any of the wines ordered. We do not sell any wines on these nights (it takes away from the fun and our licence forbids it), but are happy to give a discount on any of the wines tasted that anybody orders.

The quality of the wines we taste on these nights depends on the budget and the number of people attending, so give us a shout if you’d like more information on these nights.

Sulphites in wine

The laws in Europe and the USA are very different when it comes to labelling wine bottles and the amount of sulphites they contain. And, since this is Europe, we won’t bother with the laws in America, except to say that they have the labelling part of the laws wrong.

In Europe, a wine can be labelled as being made from organically-grown grapes if the wine contains less than 100ppm (parts per million) of sulphites. There are other elements in making organic wines, but we’ll concentrate on the sulphites levels here.

Typically, the better winemakers (whether certified organic or not) will use less the 50ppm and, since sulphur is a natural by-product of the fermentation process, it is impossible (and undesirable) to have zero sulphites in wine. It is worth noting that our bodies produce sulphur on a daily basis, and there are far higher dosages of sulphur used in other foodstuffs.

I think the problem with high levels of sulphites in wines is that these wines are also very likely to have been subjected to herbicides, pesticides and systemic fertilizers. And, since there is no evidence that excess sulphites in foodstuffs causes headaches, it is far more likely that the overall excesses of chemicals used in badly-made wines is what gives that feeling of ‘oh, I didn’t think I drank that much last night’.

So, while there is a focus on sulphite levels, it is the overall cocktail of additives that are the enemy, and it is a good thing that there is measurement of sulphite levels, as this helps to identify the winemakers that care about their vines and make wine properly.

The problem, of course, is certification, but that’s another story, and another article. Which is here somewhere.