Earlier last week I went to The Real Wine Fair, a showcase for those who produce organic, bio dynamic and low intervention wines. I've been to a couple of these fairs now so have a little understanding how they work. Tip: Grab the booklet and tasting glass at the entrance (took me a little while to figure out where every one got their glasses from on my first one!) take a few minutes to read the booklet and then attack!
Now whilst I have been to a few wine fairs, this was my first 'niche' one and I wasn't really sure what to expect. I've heard both sides of the argument when it comes to organic wines, both bad and good, and after my day I can start to understand them both, although I overwhelmingly enjoyed most of the wines available.
Unfortunately, I don't think people en mass will take to these wines for a few reasons. They are cloudy (because they haven't been filtered) slightly more expensive and I found usually accompanied by a bitten, browning green apple aroma, which I actually found pleasant but can understand wouldn't be to everyone's liking.
Nethertheless it was a great opportunity to try some previously unknown to me wines, such as pet nat (naturally sparkling), Georgian varities dating back to eons ago and even a few things from Wales, which sums up the whole reason I love wine! It's a never ending, rather tasty, life long, education.
I come from a pretty standard working-cum-middle class family. Daughter of a nurse and telecoms engineer, born and raised in Birmingham (the second most populous UK city) and I didn't go to Uni, which statistically puts me in the majority, as more people don't have degrees than do.
So I think that puts me in a pretty good position to represent the average person, something which I think people working in wine sometimes forget about.
In a nutshell the programme came across exactly as I was hoping it wouldn't, pretentious.
The programme is sol d on the back of two posh actors who for the duration of the series live in a huge Italian villa. (I do fully appreciate that is this TV and things should look beautiful!) but the cast along with other things, like the first item being about the very obscure Vin de Constance (a good feature but perhaps best placed further into the series when viewers are feeling more comfortable) and the use of a £300 Coravin (again interesting info but maybe not straight away, bearing in mind that most watching will have just twisted a screw-cap to pour their accompanying evening glass of wine) followed by the swift comment of 'Just buy a £300 bottle...' did little to dis-wade the idea that the wine industry is snobbish, lacking in diversity and only for those of a particular socio-economic group.
That all being said there were lots of good points to the show. The production values, notable enthusiasm and knowledge of JoeFattorini and the actual content of the items were great, it just needs to be pitched slighly differently, especially when considering that it is sponsored by Aldi and scheduled before 'You've been Framed' (On ITV)
As a wine lover I really hope that this series does well, but as an average person I need it be tweaked in order for me to continue watching.
So a few days ago I had my first diploma day at WSET headquarters. Apart from Level 3 and a few short courses I haven't really studied since school (having gone straight into the working world after A Levels) and even then I wasn't particularly good at it.
What I have always found difficult wasn't necessarily the subject matter but the actually studying. It seems strange to say but school never actually taught me HOW to study.
During Level 3 I started to develop an understanding of what worked best for me but just as I was finding my swing it was exam time.
It obviously worked well enough though because here I am now revising for my first diploma exam, which seems scarily soon seeing as I have only just done my first day - May 26th and I'm stressing a little about if my studying techniques are good enough.
I'm not quite yet back into the routine of things, partially I think because I'm a bit nervous about the scale of what I've taken on and having not been to Uni I've no experience of long term studying, so not quite sure to expect. All that being said, I've learnt quite a few new things already (my poor friends and family have already started to be bombarded with random wine facts) but if the rest of the course is as interesting as day 1 then I say bring it on!