Meet the winemaker from Lyme Bay winery
With England now boasting 500 vineyards and English Wine Week taking place throughout the UK (25th May – 2nd June), we have spoken to the consultant winemaker of Lyme Bay Winery, Liam Idzikowski, to find out his ideal food & wine pairing, the challenges he faces and his top tips for promoting English wines.
What made you decide to a pursue a career in wine?
Coming from Northern Ireland I had too many wet summers growing up, so one year I decided to change this and got a job in a winery in the Russian River Valley, California. I instantly took a shine to it and have never looked back.
What do you enjoy most about working in the wine trade?
It has definitely got to be the harvest. You never work harder and a cold beers never tastes better. It’s the most exciting time of year and there is always a great anticipation and buzz once the grapes start coming in and the fermentation begins.
What is your ultimate food & wine match?
The breakfast of champions has got to be pairing an English sparkling wine with an Ulster fry (the Irish equivalent of the traditional English Breakfast) or pairing it with Belgian waffles, bacon and maple syrup! Delicious.
What is the biggest challenge you face in the wine industry?
I have to say the amount of VAT and duty that is added on to English wines – in many wine producing countries there are concessions to help promote wines of that country. A reduction of duty or VAT would go a long way.
What do you think the next wine trend will be?
There are some very interesting and well-priced wines coming from Eastern Europe, such as Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovenia. I’d like to think they can take some of the Sauvignon Blanc, Prosecco and Pinot Grigio shelf space. Watch this space.
What would be your top tip for promoting english wines within a pub, bar or restaurant?
People that have not tried any English wines seem to be very intrigued yet nervous about it. A recommendation by a waiter or a suggested food pairing can go a long way as well as offerings by the glass would be very reassuring. Once they have tried a good English wine, the second bottle or glass won’t be a hard sell. People that like local food will want to like local wine and the rule still stands…what grows together goes together!
Want to know which English wines we stock? Check out our South West map below!