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One for the Road at Chilford Hall

Filed in Wines Tasted by on October 4, 2015 0 Comments
One for the Road at Chilford Hall

Chilford Hall must be one of the best signposted vineyards in England. Large brown signs with giant bunches of grapes entice visitors from the A11 in Cambridgeshire and guide them from the dual carriageway all the way to the winery door. Given the roadside associations of the vineyard’s founder though, maybe that’s appropriate. The vineyard was planted […]

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Last of the Summer Whites – Our first mixed case

Filed in Wine Offers by on September 27, 2015
Last of the Summer Whites – Our first mixed case

Two questions I’m often asked are which vineyards people should visit and why we don’t sell wine. It’s in response to both of these that I’ve created the “Last of the Summer Whites” mixed half case in conjunction with English wine specialists, The Exceptional English Wine Company. The plan is to create a monthly offering of 6 […]

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Fancy helping to make your own glass of bubbly?

Filed in Uncategorized by on September 21, 2015 0 Comments
Fancy helping to make your own glass of bubbly?

In the UK, as in Champagne, grapes for sparkling wine need to be picked by hand. This is a labour intensive process, which can go on over several weeks as different varieties, and even different clone / rootstock combinations of the same variety, all ripen at different rates. Careful analysis of sugar levels rising and […]

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Winbirri – Bringing Home the Bacchus

Filed in Vineyards by on September 20, 2015 0 Comments
Winbirri – Bringing Home the Bacchus

You can’t have enough East Anglian Bacchus, according to Lee Dyer, owner of Winbirri Vineyard in Norfolk. That’s why he is planning to plant more vines to add to the 25 acres he already cares for in Surlingham, a small village on the edge of the Broads National Park near Norwich. I met Lee when […]

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The War on Dullness at Renishaw Hall

Filed in Vineyards by on August 15, 2015 0 Comments
The War on Dullness at Renishaw Hall

There’s something about walled gardens – perhaps the sense of security or the promise of secrets – that makes them so appealing. For me, it’s also the chance that one might contain a hidden vineyard. The vineyard at Renishaw Hall in Derbyshire, a few miles from Sheffield, was originally planted in the walled garden of […]

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Lyme Bay Winery – one to watch

Filed in Wines Tasted by on July 8, 2015 0 Comments
Lyme Bay Winery – one to watch

When winemaker Liam Idzikowski announced that he was leaving Langham Estate, where he’d impressed with his first few vintages, to join The Lyme Bay Winery, Ian and I looked at one another rather perplexed. Most of us have seen Lyme Bay’s fruit wines over the years (they’ve been around more than 20 years, I now learn) […]

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The Italian in Algiers in Vegas in Ditchling

Filed in Uncategorized by on June 29, 2015 0 Comments
The Italian in Algiers in Vegas in Ditchling

Ever since I heard about Pop-Up Opera, a young company, having set up themselves instead of waiting for roles, and performing in unusual venues, I had been charmed by the idea. I’m no opera buff, but I love The Magic Flute and have enjoyed seeing it in different venues and styles around the world. Rossini’s ‘L’Italiana […]

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My English Wine Fortnight

Filed in Vineyards by on June 17, 2015
My English Wine Fortnight

I’ve been thinking back on what I did in English Wine Week and the week after – there was such a variety of things that I thought it would be fun to share. None of what I did was by special invitation and so, although I’m fortunate to have been able to be flexible with work […]

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A view of the sea from Polgoon Vineyard

Filed in Vineyards, Wines Tasted by on May 12, 2015 0 Comments
A view of the sea from Polgoon Vineyard

It has been suggested that I could produce a quiz about the vineyards of the UK, having visited so many. If that ever happens, make sure your revision includes vineyards with alpacas – there are more than you might think! Another topic I’d include is those with a sea view, although I’ve only come across […]

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Three Squirrels and a Pint of Wine at Hazel End

Filed in Vineyards by on May 6, 2015 0 Comments
Three Squirrels and a Pint of Wine at Hazel End

According to his diary entry for December 1st 1660, after a fortifying venison pasty, Samuel Pepys and his friend Mr Shipley “went into London, and calling upon Mr. Pinkney [headed to the tavern to enjoy] a pint of wine”. Later, after another pint at The Star, Samuel Pepys went home, his “brains somewhat troubled with so […]

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