Monday, July 30, 2012

Enjoy some fruity passions found in the hedgerow

TED the blacksmith, Sister Lucy, Jones the church organist, Mrs Wigley, Fowles the chemist and old Mrs Pickering are my merry companions this summer, though I am not holidaying in Camberwick Green. I'm reading Margaret Vaughan - the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of wine-making. Where others see a hedge of wild flowers, she and her village oenophile friends see gallons of Hedgerow Punch. Despite her sensible shoes, she praises the “leg-buckling” quality of Mrs Wigley’s oak leaf wine. I re-read her Dandelion wine entry before grasping why it had her “negotiating her knicker elastic”. Learn the secrets of simple, Post Order winning, hedgerow wines.

Full article first published in The Connexion (August, 2012)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tasting tour can be dull marketing or a magical delight

WHEN I gate-crashed another party’s tour in the tasting room, during a visit of the Mondavi winery in Napa Valley, California, their guide, Pamela, primly told me to rejoin my group whose tour was just starting. She had sized me up as a drinker, ejecting me for a sobering 90-minute tour with the tasting room as the longed-for, penultimate step. Gatecrashing a tour in the tasting room undermines a winery's strategy to turn uneducated visitors into educated ones. Knowledge acquired on a tour becomes relevant to visitors, becomes part of their identity (no matter how temporarily); and identification leads to consumption, for those prepared to wait.

Full article first published in The Connexion (July, 2012)