Bonne Année to everyone from us, the dynamic duo that is Fine Wine Works! Firstly, a warning! Don’t take all this abstemious alcohol-free detoxing too seriously! I find if one is too strict about the dietary and non-drinking regime as one’s New Year’s Resolution then it’s all too easy to stumble. My advice (from a hardened “stumbler”) is to moderate one’s drinking habits after the endless feasting season and to drink less but BETTER stuff.

Forget all those tempting discounted abrasive & acidic champagnes that the supermarkets tempted us with in November and December, and stick with a glass of elegant and supremely superior Vilmart, for example. Yes, I know that’s a plug for our fabulous Champagne house, but one shouldn’t forget Madame Lily Bollinger’s earnest self analysis of her drinking habits regarding champagne:

“I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad.
Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone.
When I have company I consider it obligatory.
I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and I drink it when I am.
Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.”

So this is a gentle sneak preview of the fact that I shall be revamping our small, but perfectly formed Wine List in the next couple of weeks. Some of the tried and tested favourites, which represent cracking value in the sub 8€ price point will stay. But I also want to introduce some more unusual and superior premium wines up to 20€ (and just over). These should appeal to those discerning palates who have perhaps had the good fortune to attend one of our Wine Tasting Dinners or Fun Wine Events during 2009 and have had their horizons broadened to include some exciting non-French wines. Not least the revamp and upgrade of the Wine List may attract graduates of our WSET® Wine Courses who have had the opportunity to taste a myriad of delicious and unconventional International wines. Watch this space (and look out for our Winter 2010 Newsletter to be published shortly) for details on some of the new wines we have selected (through rigorous and demanding tasting sessions, hee hee!) and which will soon be available through Fine Wine Works.

On a final note, I just want to congratulate the students who tackled the (my first) Level 3 WSET® Advanced Course in Wines and Spirits last November and whose results have just been sent through to me! Hurrah – a 100% Pass Rate with half of the students (including my swotty husband, Nigel) achieving Pass with Distinction, the ultimate accolade and award for this exam which is the equivalent of a UK “A” Level. We have a full programme of Wine Courses covering all 3 Levels this Winter / Spring and all dates and details can be found on our website under “Training”. If you want to chat through which option might be best for you, please do not hesitate to pick up the phone to us on 06 42 15 51 21.

Helen Brotherton