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Blog23 September 2019

A Trip to Aldwick Estate Winery

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Blog23 September 2019

A Trip to Aldwick Estate Winery

Last week, we had the pleasure of visiting Aldwick Estate, located a stones throw from Bristol Airport, where Sandy Luck and her dedicated team have been producing award winning wines since 2013. Rain and wind were no-where to be seen as the sun shone across bright blue skies and the temperature soared. Comments of ‘we could be in the South of France!’ could be heard across rows of Regent, Madeleine Angevine, Seyval and Bacchus grapes all bulging from their vines, enjoying some last minute pre-harvest sun.

After hearing about the history of Aldwick from Sandy, where her family have been farming for 5 generations, she accompanied us on a tour of the vineyards which enjoy far stretching views across 11 acres of vines and the Somerset countryside beyond. Aldwick only use grapes from their own vineyards, which ensures they have 100% control over the whole winemaking process; from planting the vines to bottling their wines.

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Blog, Wines28 August 2019

Winery Visit: A Trip to Domaine Tropez

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Blog, Wines28 August 2019

Winery Visit: A Trip to Domaine Tropez

Sunny August afternoons are made for rosé wine and they don’t taste better than when in the South of France. Last Wednesday whilst on a visit to Domaine Tropez; a stunning vineyard nestled in the hills above Saint Tropez this pleasure was fulfilled.

One can appreciate why the more well-heeled arrive in Saint Tropez via yacht; the roads are a nightmare! A wiggling maze of steep-sided tracks with barely enough room for two cars, let alone the thundering Ferraris. This made the arrival at the fabulously stylish Domaine Tropez even more welcoming. Set back from the road is their ranch-like winery, the thatched roof of the tasting room providing welcome dappled shade whilst we enjoyed a welcome glass of rosé. Our hosts Gerrit and Anne-Laure sat with us and explained what they had lovingly created.

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Blog, Food Pairings25 July 2019

Restaurants for Wine and Cheese in the South West

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Blog, Food Pairings25 July 2019

Restaurants for Wine and Cheese in the South West

On 25 July, we celebrate the perfect combination: Wine & Cheese.

National Wine and Cheese Day provides an excellent opportunity to try some of your favourites together. This combo has been a worldwide tradition for hundreds of years which we intend to keep alive by recommending some excellent pairings that you will find at various restaurant hot spots you can visit across the South West. Nowadays, it’s not all just about Port & Stilton or your traditional cheeseboard (although these are yummy). From Cornwall to the Cotswolds here’s your guide for the ultimate taste sensation…

The Old Ship Hotel, Padstow, Cornwall

Located on the north coast of Cornwall, Padstow is a charming fishing harbour that is a popular tourist destination, not just because of it’s picturesque beauty, but also because it is thriving with restaurants that would satisfy any foodie’s needs. Nestled on the backstreets is the Old Ship Hotel whose menu has a bit of everything on it! For a lunchtime treat try the Grilled Goats Cheese Wrap with Cucumber, Rocket and Onion Marmalade.

The usual rule of thumb is what grows together goes together: as goats cheese originates from the Loire Valley in France, we would pair this with Sancerre Domaine Neveu which can only be bought by the bottle here but hey…treat yourself! Experience the traditional French Sauvignon Blanc acidity, minerality and citrussy flavours from the wine that brings the goats cheese to life.

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Blog, Wines16 July 2019

Tips to Upsell Wine

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Blog, Wines16 July 2019

Tips to Upsell Wine

Selling wines in restaurants amongst other establishments can be quite difficult at times and upselling to customers is even harder! However, upselling is a valuable sales technique and when executed correctly, it can be a highly effective way to increase your wine sales.

Upselling definition

It isn’t about just increasing your serve size ‘Is that a large glass?’, ‘Two glasses?, Why not buy the bottle?’. It also doesn’t have to mean selling at a higher price. Futhermore, upselling or trading up for wine doesn’tnecessarily suggest just increasing the profitability, it can simply be defined as selling a higher quality wine and exposing the customer to other options that were perhaps not considered, this can then lead to improving the customer’s experience.

This is where knowledgeable bar and waiting staff come in. People love discovering something new and being wowed. By having friendly yet informative wine servers, there can be benefits to both you as a business and your customers.

The overall customer experience will improve, resulting in:

A happy guest that will potentially spend more money

Repeat customers

Recommendations to other people to visit ‘spreading the word’ (which carries more weight than any social media post)

Consequently this has a positive effect on your staff as well, as they will be empowered, motivated, a team player and will feel more satisfied in the job overall.

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Blog, Wines22 May 2019

English Wine Week 2019

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Blog, Wines22 May 2019

English Wine Week 2019

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!

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Blog, Wines31 October 2018

Vegan Wines Explained

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Blog, Wines31 October 2018

Vegan Wines Explained

It wasn’t so long ago that veganism was sceptically seen as a small contingent of defiant earth warriors out to save the planet by avoiding animal-made products and foods. But what started as a fringe movement has today become mainstream and everyone is taking note.

World Vegan Day started in 1994, and now 24 years later, it is no longer an annual nod to a tireless campaign but a normal, daily, subconscious movement to help the welfare and health of animals, and well, humans too.

According to a survey carried out by the Vegan Society last year;

  • More than half of UK adults (56%) are now adopting vegan buying behaviours and Britain is more vegan-friendly than ever before.
  • Half of those surveyed said they know someone who is vegan and over a fifth said they would consider becoming vegan themselves.
  • One in five cut down on the amount of meat they buy and the same number check if their toiletries are tested on animals.
  • Nearly one in eight now choose meat or dairy free options from the menu when eating out.

Restaurateurs, ignore it at your peril…

Is Veganuary the New Dryanuary?

Looking back to the start of this year it feels like Veganuary was even bigger than Dryanuary. Something of a relief for those of us in the drinks trade, but also a serious indication of the power of the vegan movement.

So what does this mean for wine? And how should it influence your wine offering as a pub, bar or restaurant?

Firstly we need to really understand what vegan wine is.

To know whether a wine is vegetarian or vegan, you need to know how a wine is clarified (or fined) to remove the solid particles that would otherwise make it cloudy. The substances used for this process can be derived from many sources, some of which come from fish and animals, some from dairy products and some from clay or synthetic substances. Certain producers do not fine their wines at all while some choose just to filter.

Though the traditional fining agent of bull’s blood was banned by the EU after the BSE crisis, a number of animal-derived products are still permitted for the production of wine sold in Europe. Among the most prevalent are isinglass (fish swim bladders), gelatine, casein (milk protein), and albumen (egg whites). If a wine is fined with bentonite (a clay) or activated charcoal, the wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. If a wine is fined with casein or albumen it is suitable for vegetarians but not for vegans.

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