Tag Archives: wine

London Wine Fair 2016

2 wine fair

I always come away from a trade fair feeling uplifted and inspired. And it was the same at the London Wine Fair 2016, held at Olympia in Kensington, where I chatted to wine producers from Spain, Italy, France, and Portugal.

Meeting people in the food and drinks business who are enthusiastic and passionate about what they do gets you thinking and gives you ideas. I’d love to run a food business, but have absolutely no idea what, realistically, this might be. I keep coming back to the idea of opening a small tapas bar, a family kind of place that would recreate a little piece of Spain in south-east London. Maybe one day.

Bob Wines


Bob Wines

Sydenham now has an independent wine shop, Bob Wines, situated right by by the station.  I can’t remember ever coming first at anything, but I was the shop’s first customer.  An independent wine shop is great news for this corner of south-east London.

The importance of wine labels

Spanish Story

If you want to get your wine noticed, then you need to come up with an eye-catching label. When I attended the 2016 Wines from Spain trade fair last week at Tobacco Dock, I was stopped in my tracks by the Spanish Story stand. This Madrid company has created some of the best and most colourful wine labels I’ve come across. It uses the same design in a different and vibrant colour for each of its wines. What adds to this are the images, such as a shrimp, a bull, and an octopus.


The confusing world of wine

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Every profession has its own terminology, but if you want to communicate to a wide audience, then you need to use language ordinary people understand. And nowhere is this more true than in the wine industry.

If you buy a can of beer, understanding the label is pretty straightforward. It just tells you that it’s beer and who made it. End of story.

But with wine you find yourself faced with a lot of confusing information on the front label. This will usually include the type of grape, the name of the producer (or the brand, which might be different), the country, the area where the wine was made, and the year the grapes were harvested. However, labels vary from country to country, and some wines might include where the wine was bottled or use terms such as “reserva” or “old vines”. And then on the label on the back you have to make sense of all the marketingspeak about a wine having the aroma of plums, blackcurrants or cedar, or being “crisp”, “zesty”, “refreshing”, “young,” “full-bodied,” or “lingering”.

You’ll sometimes hear people say that they love chardonnay or Rioja. However, chardonnay is a variety of grape and Rioja is the name of a region in Spain. Chardonnay grapes were originally grown in Burgundy in France, but have since been planted in many countries. And a wine produced in Rioja can be made from different types of grapes, such as tempranillo or grenache.

Perhaps the answer to this confusion is to find out what wine you like and then note the grape variety and the region of the country which produced it. For example, in my case, I’ve discovered that I like wines from Rioja made with tempranillo grapes. I now feel that I have a foothold in the world of wine. Okay, it’s an unsteady one, but at least I’m beginning to make sense of what is a vast and fascinating industry, if at the same time a confusing one.