All posts tagged wine

Celebrity Vineyards by Nick Wise

celebrity vineyards by nick wiseFrom the hills of Napa to the mountain slopes of Piedmont, wine writer Nick Wise went in search of great wine, and the new yet prolific modern trend of ‘celebrity turned winemakers’ – a collective group of actors, musicians, directors, artists and sports figures who have en masse entered the wine-making arena as a second profession. Celebrity Vineyards endeavours to illuminate the serious fruit aficionados from the label profiteers, and the reasons behind their personal decisions to produce fine wines.

Intrigued by this trend, Nick wanted to not only explore the reasoning behind their winemaking, but also demonstrate how much fun learning about and experiencing wine can be – and to open up the process to those less interested in the technicalities of winemaking. Exploring celebrity vineyards seemed to him an exciting place to start, and this book tells the fascinating story of the colourful characters he encountered, and their passion for wine.

Nick journeyed around the world, from Central and Northern California to Canada’s Niagara Wine Valley and on to the hills of Italy and Spain, to visit the vineyards of, and in most cases interview, winemakers such as composer/pianist Ludovico Einaudi, filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, screenwriter Robert Kamen, acclaimed chef Charlie Palmer and actor Dan Aykroyd, among others. Celebrity Vineyards highlights only those who have become hands-on in their winemaking process, and the tasting notes and reviews in each chapter immediately trigger the senses and uncover brilliant wines that have gained industry recognition.

“After almost a year of travelling and research, we found some very amazing people who were incredibly dedicated to making great wine….The sixteen celebrities we ultimately selected were those people who put their blood, sweat, and tears into the actual winemaking, and others who stayed clear of the technical aspects but nonetheless invested their heart and soul in the process.”
— Nick Wise

The labels on the bottles, the nuances between each glass – Nick remembers every single wine he has tasted. His extraordinary travels and encounters are revealed in this fully illustrated and captivating book. Whether you are a wine connoisseur, or can’t tell your pinot from your merlot, Celebrity Vineyards will delight, charm and educate your palate.

Celebrity Vineyards by Nick Wise available for pre-order on Amazon for £15.70.

Berry Bros. & Rudd Bar Opens

One of the UK’s most treasured and iconic venues, the Royal Albert Hall, is delighted to announce the opening of its new bar in partnership with Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant, established in the 17th century, Berry Bros. & Rudd. The elegant and sophisticated Berry Bros. & Rudd No.3 Bar offers guests chic glamour and a distinctive experience in the iconic splendour of the world famous performance venue.

With a relaxed and convivial ambience, the bar specialises in a great selection of Berry Bros. & Rudd wines and spirits as well as an excellent list of No. 3 Gin and classic cocktails which will be available to the Hall’s annual 1.5 million visitors. The menu, from the Hall’s in-house caterers “rhubarb” features delicious food including sharing boards of Spanish charcuterie and Hamish Johnston cheese, freshly handmade salads, smoked salmon blinis and wholesome sandwiches. “rhubarb” will manage the daily operations in the bar whilst ensuring that the quality and service is always excellent.

As a charity, the Hall seeks to advance the world famous Grade 1 listed building and provide maximum public benefit and this contemporary yet classic public bar, in one of its renovated downstairs foyers, contributes to its continued improvement for future generations.

Jasper Hope, Chief Operating Officer at the Royal Albert Hall, said Berry Bros. & Rudd Bar Opens

Simon Berry, Chairman at Berry Bros. & Rudd, said

“We were surprised and delighted when we were invited by the management of the Royal Albert Hall to open a bar. We have been supplying the Hall with its wine for 18 months or so as well as a few of our spirits, including No. 3 Gin, and the King’s Ginger liqueur had also been selected to go into their bars and restaurants. The relationship fits very well and the bar is not only a bar, but one of the iconic Arena bars. Whatever your taste in music or entertainment, I am sure that we can satisfy your taste for something to drink.”

Over 314 years ago, Berry Bros. & Rudd opened its shop at 3 St James’s Street, opposite St James’s Palace, where it still stands today. Members of the Berry and Rudd families continue to own and manage the family-run wine merchant, providing the closest link between those make the wine and those who drink it.

Located on the Basement level, the Berry Bros. & Rudd No.3 Bar offers food and drinks two hours before every performance, in the interval and for select concerts the bar will also be open post-show.

The London Cheese & Wine Guide

The London Cheese & Wine Guide is the first ever guide to London’s top cheese and wine venues and reflects the increasing popularity of artisan cheese and quality wine in London.

London has an exceptional variety of cheese and wine venues to suit every occasion and budget. The London Cheese & Wine Guide features the best of these places and provides all the information you need to enjoy cheese and wine. This is the perfect book for any foodie or wine lover.
Editor of The London Cheese & Wine Guide, Lucy Gregory, says the aim of the Guide is to make cheese and wine accessible to everyone.

“We want to shake off the traditional image of snobbery that tends to accompany cheese and wine in the UK”, Lucy said. “You don’t need to spend a fortune or be an expert to appreciate good cheese and wine. You just need to know where to look and be confident in asking for specialist advice.”

Esteemed wine writer Matthew Jukes says “when it comes to cheese and wine in London, the sheer amount of choice can be daunting. This means good advice is essential. The experts behind this book have the peerless knowledge to lead you around the capital with unerring accuracy and into the arms of the finest purveyors of cheese and wine.”

The London Cheese & Wine Guide is available at and from Amazon, featured venues and all good bookstores.

Morrison Cellar Interactive Taste tool

Morrison Cellar Interactive Taste toolAre you daunted by wine lists? Limited to Chardonnay? Only comfortable with cocktail menus? Well now you can find out which wines best tickle your taste buds with the Morrison Cellar Interactive Taste tool and dedicated online wine site,, this autumn.

Having analysed the wine-buying habits of 10,000 UK wine drinkers, Morrisons discovered people need help choosing wines with confidence they know they’ll love when they open the bottle. The clever Interactive Taste tool does just that by taking the guess work out of knowing your Merlot from your Malbec, and helping you confidently choose wines you will enjoy.

By answering three simple non-wine questions based on preferences such as – how you take your coffee, if you add salt to food and whether you prefer full fat or no-added-sugar fizzy drinks – you can discover whether your flavour profile is ‘sweet’ (0-3), ‘fresh’ (4-6), ‘smooth’ (7-9) or ‘intense’ (10-12), and relish a new way of drinking through a bespoke list of wine recommendations matched to your personal taste preferences.

With anywhere between 500-10,000 taste buds determining whether you prefer sweetness or bitterness, it’s highly likely the flavours you enjoy will be different to those of your family or friends. If you take two sugars in your tea, you’re more likely to be in the ‘sweet’ profile range so will enjoy quaffing something more delicate like a Riesling. However, if you’re a black coffee drinker you might be more suited to a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon to fit your ‘intense’ profile.

Thanks to the Taste Test, everyone’s tastes can now be satisfied. Morrisons’ wine buying team has assigned a flavour profile to every wine in their range to help you not only find a wine you’ll enjoy, but to also give you the confidence to try wines you may not usually buy. For example, if you are a 7 then you can expect any red, white or rosè wines in the ‘smooth’ category to appeal to your taste.

Morrisons is also trialling the Taste Test in a number of stores this autumn, with a view to incorporating into stores in 2013. In the future wine ranges in Morrisons’ stores may eventually reflect local favourites – perhaps Portsmouth will have a penchant for Prosecco while Shropshire will be sipping Shiraz? will have more than 1,000 wines to explore (nearly double the number currently in-store) and you can choose from pre-selected cases of six or twelve bottles according to your flavour profile or build your own bespoke box of twelve. Free delivery will be standard, and if you don’t love the wine you’ve purchased, Morrisons will give you your money back.

Virgin Wines Virtual Winery

virgin wines virtual wineryAfter the success of Virgin Wines first Virtual Winery held in Italy last year, the online wine retailer has launched the Virgin Wines Virtual Winery – The Rioja Experience.

The Virtual Winery project aims to bring together a group of impassioned wine lovers in the creation of a new wine – one that doesn’t yet exist – and actively play a part in the decisions that shapes its future. Hot off the heels of the first Virgin Wines’ Virtual Winery which was held last year at the Pallavicini wine estate in Lazio in Italy, this year sees the opportunity for customers to come together and get involved in the making of a red wine from Rioja.

As a Virtual Winemaker, customers will have access to a dedicated online platform where they can follow updates from the winemakers. They will also have the chance to win a trip to visit the winery, will receive regular email updates, and most importantly will be asked to vote on certain aspects of the making of their wine. The votes will cover decision in the vineyard and winery, the wine’s name and even the label. All of this interaction will allow anyone – wherever they are located – to get involved.

Virgin Wines has joined forces with the innovative Finca Manzanos winery on this second Virtual Winery project. Virgin Wines has been working with Finca Manzanos for several years and their wines have proved favourites with Virgin Wines’ customers. The young and talented Borja Ripa heads up the winemaking, producing wines which are true examples of the best Rioja traditions but tempered by the modern demands for fresher, more fruit-forward wines.

Commenting on the launch, Jay Wright, Managing Director at Virgin Wines said:

“Our Virgin Wines Virtual Winery is a fantastic opportunity to bring together a bunch of switched-on wine lovers and invite them to do something pioneering and engaging. The feedback from our first Virtual Winery was excellent, so we were keen to repeat it although this time around we hope it will be even bigger and better. We’re delighted to be working with Finca Manzanos – they are a great team, make fantastic wines and a perfect fit for this project.”

Víctor Fernández de Manzanos Roldán from Finca Manzanos added “At Finca Manzanos we are committed to sharing the excitement of wine with all our friends. The Manzanos family and I are keen to continue the work my late Father, who deeply wanted customers to have the chance to take an active part in the winemaking experience and to experiment with the pleasure of “creating” wine. We hope to make this dream come true by teaming up with Virgin Wines on this exciting Virtual Winery project.”

More details about the Virtual Winery – The Rioja Experience can be found at Already over 380 customers have signed up.

To participate costs £12 which secures a 12 bottle case of the final wine and lets you join in with the voting on key wine making decisions, decide on the name and label, and be the first to sample the wine at a preview tasting to be held in London next spring.