The WineGB trade tasting was eye-opening. The annual event has grown so large that it had to move from Westminster to (gulp!) south of the river. On 5th September the Battersea Arts Centre was filled with 67 exhibitors – more than ever before. All the famous names were there, and some less well-known producers too, and some shiny bright newcomers. Such a diverse range of UK wines in a single room: Sparkling and Stills, traditional and novel grape varieties, a variety of production methods (Traditional and Charmat). There were wines of every hue: reds, whites and rosés. We particularly liked the Sustainable Wine table. There was also a new category of ‘other grape products’ for vermouths, gins, vinegars and the like.
As it was one of the hottest days of the year and the room was crowded, we worried about keeping the wines at optimum tasting temperature. There’s an ice bucket hokey-cokey where you switch from too cold to too warm as you play ‘guess the temperature’ of the wine in a half-full bottle. The warmer it gets, the quicker your bubbles pop. Serving flat fizz is terrible. Taking our courage in both hands for the first time we trialled bottle coolers, instead of the usual ice buckets. They were fab! It is definitely the way forward for us. It kept the wine cool and effervescent and – probably most importantly – stopped me dripping melted ice over everyone and everything. This is what we used: https://www.huskicoolers.co.uk/
The WineGB Trade Tasting is – as its name suggests – reserved for those in the trade: buyers, vintners, press etc. There was such a buzz in the room, its a pity consumers can’t get a peek. Snatching the odd moment to explore other wines ourselves, we found so many treasures. The UK wine industry is confident and maturing. We’re excited about what is still to come.