Happy New Year! Hopefully you’ve survived the first week back at work after a Christmas of gorging yourself on food and drink. It’s a rough time, so congratulations on dragging yourself out of your warm, safe bed and into the relentlessly cold, January-ish world outside.
Before we were pulled forcefully into 2018, James shared his favourite moments from our first year as Wined Up. We’re really excited about what this year has in store and can’t wait to work with/reach more amazing wine professionals, wine lovers and those who are still figuring out where they stand on the fermented stuff.
But for now, here’s my take on a 2017 full of learning, tasting, chatting and drinking. Oh, so much drinking…
Lily: This time last year, James and I were exchanging a flurry of ideas and polling our friends to find the perfect blog name. It’s so rewarding to look back at the 52 posts of 2017 and realise how much we’ve managed to fit in!
At the beginning of the year, I was lucky enough to start studying for the WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits through work. It increased my confidence immeasurably and, whilst I still know that I’ve got a hell of a lot to learn, it’s great to have the qualification and to feel like my understanding is progressing.
We keep saying it, but the wine world really is one in which you can never know everything. That’s why it’s worth getting yourself out there and talking to people who might be able to introduce you to a part of it that’s completely new to you. This could be in the form of a wine tasting or even just chatting to your friends about what they’re drinking at the moment.
For me, the events that really broadened my knowledge of what’s out there last year were:
- Amelia Singer’s Christmas tasting where we tasted 18 different wines at Amelia’s house in the company of approximately 25 people, all with completely different opinions.
- The YBFs awards which shone a light on the brilliant Wine Car Boot event founded by Ruth Spivey – I’ll definitely be attending again this year!
- Our tasting with L’altreVi during which we completely fell in love with Catalonian wine. (Yes, I know James has already highlighted this, but it really is worth mentioning twice.)
- My relatively new obsession with natural/low intervention wines started at RAW Wine London. (Ditto.)
- And finally, WastED London. I’m still getting over the genius of using oxidised wines to make vermouth, rather than simply chucking them out. I’m sure more of this type of thinking will follow in 2018! (I’ve got a trip to Silo in Brighton booked at the end of this month, which I’m sure I’ll be sharing with you…)
I also vowed to visit more independent wine shops last year, rather than resting with what’s on our supermarket shelves.
Don’t get me wrong, I think we’re really lucky in the UK. Our supermarkets generally have a brilliant range of booze, especially when compared to the limited ranges available in those of other countries. However, I’ve loved being able to discover lesser known producers through independent stores – especially those who don’t necessarily play by the rules of their appellation (which you can learn more about in James’ piece about labelling in France).
My shop of choice is now Unwined in Tooting Market, which is conveniently located just across the road from me. I need to give them a shoutout because they’re running a brilliant operation. With an evening ‘Grape School’, rotating chef residencies, themed menus and an abundance of knowledge to offer customers; it really is worth a visit if you’re ever in south London.
You can either browse their store, which takes the form of an impressive wall of wine (now a firm part of the blueprint for my imaginary future home), or you can sit in to drink by the glass or the bottle, with or without food.
So, all in all, a pretty good year! We hope you’ve enjoyed reading so far and would like to thank each and everyone of you for being interested in what this couple of winos has to say.
Roll on 2018.