It has recently been reported in the press that consumers in the UK are getting more and more knowledgeable about wine and are also keen to learn more.
The Wine and Spirit Education Trust has similarly reported the greatest ever interest in people studying its courses.
It is thus no coincidence that the various wine events organised by the Arundel Wine Society as part of the increasingly popular Arundel Festival are all selling out. Last year was the first time that the Wine Trail was run in the Festival, and the three wine tasting events featured, all quickly sold out. Building on that success, this year's Festival includes a whole week of wine events.
More and more people are drinking wine, although wine drinking habits are changing right across Europe. Quantity consumed by the average drinker is going down, while the quality is going up. As consumers start to appreciate better wines, so their thirst for knowledge increases at the same rate as they wish to know more about what they are drinking, how it is made and where it is from.
All the wine events in the Arundel Festival are designed to be informative, educational and fun, which indeed is the whole ethos of the Arundel Wine Society. The events start next Monday (22nd August) with a full day Wine Tour by minibus to four different Sussex Vineyards. Participants will learn all about the growing English wine industry and about English sparkling wine production in particular, all illustrated by tasting of many different wines.
Next, on Tuesday 23rd, is the Arundel Restaurant Trail, a four course meal with each course in a different venue. Every course is accompanied by a glass of a different wine, and the principles of food and wine pairing will be explained and experienced.
Then follows the Wine Trail from Wednesday to Saturday, with a different tutored wine tasting in four different locations in Arundel. One of the most popular of these is one entitled 'Sherry, Cheese and Chocolate'. Inspired by a sell-out tasting in London last year by Sarah Jane Evans MW, the event will explain how the different styles of sherry are made and why they should be treated as true wines rather than simply some strange form of aperitif. Sherry is gaining greatly in popularity, particularly in London and often with younger and more sophisticated drinkers. They are great food wines, and this event will show how different styles of sherry can be paired with different foods, illustrated by six different sherries with cheeses and chocolates.
The event is sponsored by Sherry Wines UK, (www.sherry.wine), the organisation promoting these fabulous Spanish wines in Britain. Each participant will be given their very own Sherry Tasting kit, which includes a DVD on Sherry, a wine tasting book, a tasting mat and six miniature bottles of sherry. This will be a truly enlightening tasting, not to be missed. Although selling out fast, there are still a few tickets available at the time of writing. For tickets or further information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Esling DipWSET