Tag Archives: sherry

Experience – Borrow someone elses

“Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it. – Steven Wright

Never a truer statement spoken. Winemakers live by this motto as they craft their blends, each year learning from the previous year’s mistakes. This is why we have regions tied to single grapes, or styles of winemaking. Without others’ failures and triumphs we would not have Pinot Noir in Burgundy, Sherry in Jerez, and Port in Portugal.

Sadly, however, lack of experience often stops people from trying new things, afraid that the experience they seek is a prerequisite to trying something new. It’s not. There are many ways to gain experience, both by trial and error or from building on the experiments of others.

Surprisingly, today many wineries are still waiting to see if social media works. Ryan O’Connell of O’Vineyards recently heard a press attaché in France tell a group of winemakers the following:

“…you can’t share a story on sites like facebook or twitter. She also highly distrusts blogs and advises winemakers to be skeptical toward them. She assures us that she isn’t on facebook….”(via)


It’s time we all move on.  Social media does work. End of story. Blogs are just publishing tools, and bloggers are people that use them. Facebook and Twitter are communities, and at any time in the history of the world, communities can be found building commerce, telling stories and sharing ideas.

If you don’t believe it go out and look at the experience of others, and then join the conversation with the rest of us, using our experience as you see fit.


Success Stories (feel free to ask them what they think):






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When good things come from bad

Well, another aborted attempt to soar like an eagle through the skies of London (well, more like a weather balloon than an eagle I suppose) on the Star Over London, but more on that when I’ve finally managed it – hopefully tomorrow.

As I had to come back through London, I stopped off in Spitalfields market as suggested by Eating Leeds and tikichris, to taste Sherry and Tapas. I admit, I love sherry, so I don’t need to be convinced. However, younger consumers in general are yet to be fully convinced, and words alone will not change their minds. So what will?

Well, like the recent Tapas Fantasticas event, the Sherry Institute has decided to get glasses into consumers’ hands and set up a bar in the middle of the City, in Spitalfields market.

Not only are they making it accessible, but they’ve been able to get Heston Blumenthal (yes, that chef!) involved to develop the menus.

Now, food is much trendier in many ways than wine. There are a hundred times more column inches and TV minutes dedicated to food rather than wine, and there are plenty of TV chefs, but very few TV winemakers, tasters or critics. Shame!

So, great food, good endorsement, easy to get hold of, it must be a winner, right?

Well, I must admit that although I didn’t mind having to pay to get a sample, I think that £6 is quite an investment for someone unsure about the wine in the first place. However, for my £6 I did get three samples of sherry AND 3 interesting little ‘tapas’ (not a portion most Spaniards would be accustomed to however!). There was a £3 option for a full glass of sherry as well if you wanted, and that was pretty good value compared to a local winebar.

Since the menu had to be limited (this is a tent in a middle of a square after all) and the sherry was matched to the food, the choice of sherries was limited.

The fino, I must admit was nothing special although reasonably pleasant, and I can’t say I’m a fan of Cream sherry (however good quality). Being a fan, I KNOW what I want, and that’s an aged, dry Amontillado or Oloroso, or my personal favourite, a Palo Cortado. However, the sweeter style of Oloroso that they served was very nice and I shall be looking out for this bottle again.

I congratulate the Sherry Institute for organising this event, and I wish them well. We need more people trying sherry and realising that despite the common misconceptions about sherry, and the appalling way it is often served (warm, oxidised and in tiny glasses) that it is a fabulous drink worth exploring.

It is rather last minute, but if you are around the City on Friday 15th August, check out the Sherry Bar outside Patisserie Valerie.

Oh, and if you are there in the late afternoon (after 5pm) look up in the air and I will try to wave from the Airship/Zeppelin as I fly over.