Archive for the ‘News from The Wineyard’ Category

Team Awesome

June 25, 2010

Twitter Tasting: Trappist & Abbey Beers (Father’s Day, 1pm)

June 16, 2010

Amended times: Due to a few requests from interested people, I’ve moved the tasting back to Sunday evening, as the afternoon was impractical for those wanting to spend it with their families, or who will be out and about. The schedule below has been amended correspondingly.

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

Trappist & Abbey Beer Tasting Packs

Well I’m sure most of you know the routine by now, but the next Twitter Tasting will be this Sunday (20th June), and will be all about Trappist and Abbey beers from Belgium and Holland. Trappist Beers in particular have a phenomenal reputation for their quality, and encompass a wide range of styles and flavours. If you want to take part in one of our Twitter tastings, it couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is pop by the shop and pick up a Tasting Pack for £15.99 (15% off all pre-orders – the Trappist packs go on sale Thursday afternoon at 3pm). Your pack will not only include 6 fantastic beers, but will also have some basic details about how to use Twitter and how to join in with the tasting as we all tweet live as we taste. The pack booklet will also provide loads of ace material on all the breweries and the beers that we’re tasting, and a little intro from myself about why we’re tasting Trappist and Abbey beers.

The participants in these tastings usually range from the downright obsessive (and awesome) beer aficionados to the complete newcomer. No expertise is required at all, and it’s always a friendly and welcoming bunch.

The best way to get involved is tweet your own thoughts after trying a beer, and then start responding to what other people have said, agreeing or disagreeing with them, and asking questions if there’s anything you’d like to know or are unsure of. And most importantly of all, remember there’s no right and wrong when it comes to tasting! Think something smells like a farmyard? Doesn’t matter if someone else thinks it’s leather, the smell’s entirely subjective and down to your own interpretation, and people always get different aromas and flavours. If you’re really unsure and a bit shy, just stick to something basic like “Mmmm nice!” or “Bleurgh, what on Earth is that?” Nobody will mind, and you’ll quickly pick it up as you go along.

So now you’re curious about tasting some beers right? Well this Sunday’s line-up is below, along with rough tasting times, but feel free to deviate as we go along if there’s any you don’t fancy, or you don’t want to taste all 6 in one sitting.

How it’s going down (sort of):

  • 7.00pm: Maredsous Blonde
  • 7.45pm: Tripel Karmeliet
  • 8.30pm: Orval
  • 9.15pm: La Trappe Isid’or
  • 10.00pm: Westmalle Dubbel
  • 10.45pm: Chimay Red

Any questions, leave a comment on this blog post, give me a tweet, or drop me an e-mail to Ben@thewineyard.co.uk

Or of course, come and see us in the shop or give us a quick phone call on 01524400011.

Twitter Tasting: US Craft Beers Part I

May 17, 2010

20/5/2010, 8pm – UPDATE: We’ve been absolutely bowled over by the unanticipated level of demand we’ve had for the tasting packs in the last 24 hours. Unfortunately, we’ve now completely sold out of Anchor Bock, and will be unable to get any more in before the tasting. If you’d still like to take part, we’re selling tasting packs with the other 4 beers in, along with the background info booklets, for £9.25. Any packs that were already pre-ordered will of course still have the full set of 5 beers when collected.

I’d like to take a moment to extend a genuine and heartfelt thank you to everybody who has been so enthusiastic and supportive of this little project of mine. The comments and RTs that have been flying around and coming in on Twitter have been incredibly generous and kind, and are deeply appreciated. Rest assured, these tastings will become a regular feature of my Tweeting in the weeks and months ahead. I hope you all thoroughly enjoy yourselves come Saturday, and will be back for more in the future. Cheers!

Twitter Tasting Packs: 5 fantastic beers, background notes on the breweries and their brews, and information about Twitter and how it works, all for £11. Plus you get to be part of the collision between beer tasting and social media! What could be better?

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

Last weekend saw our very first online beer tasting go off without a hitch. A group of us all got hold of a few bottles of the fantastic beers made by the chaps at BrewDog, and tasted our way through 6 of their range, exchanging comments, observations and comparisons as we went, all through the magical medium of Twitter. Not only did it end up being a fun night, trying some very unusual and wonderful beers, but it also proved pretty popular and got noticed by a few who weren’t taking part.

So in response to demands for more of the same for others to join in with, this coming Saturday (22nd May), we’ll be doing it all over again, but this time with some of America’s finest craft beers that are currently doing the rounds in the UK. There was actually 10 beers to choose from that we stock, from 4 different breweries, but to avoid getting too carried away for one evening, I asked our followers on Twitter to choose 2 of the breweries to go with for this tasting, leaving the other 2 for another night.

With a whopping 67% of the vote, the decision has been made to taste the Anchor and Flying Dog beers this weekend. These are two of America’s best-known craft beer producers, creating iconic and unique premium beverages for discerning drinkers far and wide.

The Anchor brewery in San Francisco is world-famous for it’s Anchor Steam Beer which it has been producing since 1896. Every beer is virtually hand-made, in the most traditional of manners, and has been the benchmark of American brewing for generations. Their website is very well put together, and provides lots of background information on the brewers and their story for those of you who are interested.

Our other brewery providing Saturday night’s delights is anything but traditional; a collaborative effort first started in 1983 in a Brewpub in Aspen, Colorado, the Flying Dog project has included the likes of Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman amongst its number. Anything but conformist, the Flying Dog beers are original and unique, and considered to be amongst the best in the world. Marketed with Ralph’s controversial artwork adorning the bottles, the beers certainly stand out on a shelf, and over 500,000 cases a year are shipped worldwide from their Maryland facility.

The lineup:

So how do you take part I hear you ask? Dead simple really. Pick up a bottle of each of the beers from the lineup (or just the ones you like the look of, you don’t have to do them all), either from ourselves or another beerspecialist if we’re hard to reach. We’re doing ready-made packs of all 5 beers, along with background notes on the breweries & brews, and info about how Twitter works. All you need to do is call in and ask for a Twitter Tasting Pack, and have £11 ready.

Twitter Tasting Packs, ready and waiting for collection. Let me know you're coming in, and get your own personalised pack made up, including your own avatar and personal tweet written on the side of the box. 😉

Once you’ve got your beers, make sure you have a Twitter account set up and good to go (visit Twitter.com if you don’t already, and follow the sign up process). Look us up (We’re @TheWineyard) and start following us so that you can see my tweets, and feel free to tweet back anytime – I love to chat about anything and everything, not just beer and wine. Come Saturday evening, punch ‘#wineyardtasting’ into the search box on Twitter, and stay on that page. Once we get underway, new messages will start appearing at the top of the search results as others begin tweeting. Crack open your bottle of Anchor Steam around 8pm, type a little tweet with any thoughts (“ooh this smells good” or “What an interesting colour” for example, and make sure you include the phrase ‘#wineyardtasting’ with no spaces in the message so we can all see it show up. Watch what everyone else is saying, and start replying to them, remembering to include ‘#wineyardtasting’ in each message. You’ll be making new beer buds in no time.

Confused? Don’t worry about it, just drop me a tweet (@thewineyard) or an email (Ben@thewineyard.co.uk) with any questions and I’ll do everything I can to help you get set up for a beery night of social media! Any thoughts or comments on the event in general, please do add a comment below.

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

Tweeps taking part:

Live Brew Dog Twitter Tasting: Saturday 8th May, 8pm

May 3, 2010

Come Wednesday we should have 6 new beers from the Brew Dog boys on our shelves and up for grabs (only a couple of cases of each atm, so don’t leave it too long if you want to get your hands on some). Ordering these beers in was something of a leap of faith on my part, as I’ve only tried their Punk IPA, but I was so impressed (as were others who were trying it with me) that I immediately set about arranging for us to stock their range! So with a day off on Saturday looming, I’m going to be tasting all 6 that we’re stocking at home with some friends (5 for the first time), and getting as many of you to join in as possible through the magical medium of Twitter.

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

If you don’t fancy 6 beers in one evening, then that’s absolutely fine – just join in with the ones that you like the sound of! It’ll all be very informal and fun – There’s a list below of what I’ll be tasting at what time if you want to do it live along with me. Alternatively, just try 1 or 2 of whatever you fancy through the evening and tweet about it with the #wineyardtasting tag so we can all keep tabs on what everyone thinks of their beers.

I’ll be kicking off the beer tasting at 8pm, tweeting like fury as I go, and exchanging thoughts with any who join in. All the tweets will include the #wineyardtasting hashtag, so if you want to keep up with the evening’s goings on, all you’ll need to do is search “#wineyardtasting” on Twitter or visit this link, and you’ll be able to see it update with new messages.

The schedule (likely to fall apart towards the end, but it’s a loose guide for the order as much as anything):

8.00pm: Trashy Blonde Pale Ale (4.1%) – £1.60/bottle

8.30pm: 77 Lager (4.9%) – £1.50/bottle

9.00pm: 5 A.M. Saint Amber Ale (5%) – £1.65/bottle

9.30pm: Zeitgeist Black Lager (4.9%) – £1.50/bottle

10.00pm: Punk IPA (6%) – £1.65/bottle

10.30pm: Hardcore IPA (9.2%) – £2.65/bottle

Click the names of any of the beers to be whizzed off to their respective info pages on the cracking little Brew Dog site, and see what you like the look of. Give me a Tweet if you’ll be joining in or if you have any questions, or alternatively leave a comment on this page. You can also e-mail me, Ben@thewineyard.co.uk

Advice for serving temperatures (straight from a BrewDog man himself):

All the hoppy light beers – just chilled – not overly cold

(It is craft beer – not real ale- so the usual rules don’t apply )

All the stouts room temp

We don’t get too preachy about these things – people know how they like their beer

Our philosophy is never be told how to enjoy something – just enjoy it

Logic dictates, stick Punk etc on ice but don’t freeze out the hop

You will kill the flavours on the stout if you chill it

The anomaly is ZG (Zeitgeist) which although a lager actually develops in flavour as it comes to room temp –so you can go either way on that one – dealers choice

People planning to take part:

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

What people are Tweeting about the event (hit that little retweet button to the right and edit the text to tweet your own comment, just leave @thewineyard in your message so I see it come up!):

@dartogreen: “I love the cool social networking marketing approach of a live twitter tasting!”

@relucantscoop: “Six Brewdogs in one evening? Sounds like my regular Saturday night ;-)”

@HowmanyGills: “I’m a huge fan of Brew Dog. They do some incredible stuff. What’s the list and I can get @Rakebarto sort me out”

@marieiram: “heehee! are the ones at 10:30 going to be BEER IS BRILLIANT! I LOVE YOU GUYYS! ?”

@neil_bowness: “need to make a trip down to see you first and pick up some Brew Dog beers, hope @brewdogjames appreciates my 40 mile round trip”

@BlueVanMan1: “Sounds great, I will try my very best. Just have to manage to get there before Saturday to get the beers in….”

@Brewdogsales: “Get involved + check out the guest casks on @ Morcambe Bay Wines [our parent company] this May/ June”

@KristianHolt: “I’m there 🙂 what a great idea.”

@PrintedSpace: “I’m there also 🙂 what a great idea.”

@DClancs: “very nice, defenitely up for your live tasting, im really looking forward to the tipsy tweets :D”

@quirkytraveller: “*Excellent beer tasting”

@PeteBrownBeer: “Very tempting! Sadly I’ll be on a train back from Ludlow…”

@PJMontgomery: “Let me know when you do another one, I’ll totally be there!”

@louiseheasmanuk: “I’m not a beer drinker but I love the concept! Let me know how it goes – would love to know!”

@mcdent: “I’d like to Ben but may not have chance. Sounds great though! Will you be suggesting drinking temperatures?”

@mcdent: “I’m liking how you have ramped up the %abv, from a sober 4.1% right up to a cheeky little 9.2% :)”

@HowmanyGills: “There’s a Brewdog tasting tomorrow hosted by @TheWineyard on twitter. Details here http://wp.me/pIB8p-4w. Awesome idea. ( CC @BrewDogJames )”

@Antipathy: “Am gutted I can’t do this – looking forward to other twitter tastings in the future though!”

@BrianSheldon: “Zeitgeist = Guinness Black Lager. Gorgeous :-)”

@DClancs: “tried Punk IPA whilst watching the election last night, very impressed :)”

@MamaJunkyard: “The twitter beer tasting is such a great idea – hope it goes well”

A couple of fine IPAs

April 19, 2010

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[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

In the past week or two I’ve been getting into beer in a big way, thanks in no small part to Anchor Steam & Brooklyn Lager (which I blogged about as well). I’ve been devouring blog after blog & beer after beer, and recently tried a couple of cracking IPAs. Brew Dog’s Punk IPA seems to be widely regarded as one of Britain’s very best, and Goose Island is a well-rated Chicago brewery whose IPA just joined our range.

Both offered bags of crisp citrus flavours (more so than any Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc dares – any fans of this style of white wine, listen closely now) & plenty of refreshment. Punk was stuffed full of grapefruit character in particular & had a wickedly tart style to it. It left our mouths positively watering, and was utterly more-ish. Worthy of it’s formidable rep then!image

The Goose Island was a little less kick-you-in-the-tonsils in approach, but was still lively enough. More orange & lime rind (maybe even marmalade-y) this time, still a touch of grapefruit but a little softer on the taste-buds.

Both excellent beers, one which we stock (goose) & one which I’m vigorously pursuing (punk) to add to our range. I’d love to try some more quality IPAs, so if you’ve any suggestions I’d love to hear them!

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

UPDATE: We’re going to be stocking some of the Brew Dog range in coming months! Keep an eye on my tweets & the blog for news of their arrival.

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[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

foursquare and Gowalla

March 30, 2010

For the last few weeks I’ve been playing around with a couple of location-based services, foursquare and Gowalla. The basic premise behind these websites is that they both have apps that can be installed on web-friendly mobiles like the iPhone and Android-based handsets. As you travel about visiting different locations, you “check in” to each venue, which posts your location into your Twitter and/or Facebook streams, letting people know where you are and what you’re up to. If your friends have checked in nearby, it will let you know, encouraging you to meet up with people, and discover new places by rewarding you with points and badges for doing different things. Whilst it’s all good fun collecting these, I’ve been having a think about how to better make use of them for The Wineyard.

Initially, I was “checking in” to pretty much everywhere I went and generally getting a bit carried away with it all. The main result was a lot of annoying messages clogging up our feeds. When I was checking in to places like supplier tastings, it was pretty popular, but more day-to-day local locations weren’t exactly interesting. So I had a think (in the shower of course, where all the best things are thought of!) and decided to change my approach. I’ll still be using these services to check-in at different places, but in a more restrained and hopefully useful way for the rest of you.

The main places I’ll be checking-in will be wherever I’m working each day (be that from home, at the shop, or at our head office) so that anyone who fancies a face-to-face chat can find me easily (I’m not using my actual home address, simply a nearby generic location). I’ll also be checking-in at any tastings or other exciting events that we’re at, so that people know where they’re happening, and can see what we’re up to. I may also check-in if I’m in town, or at a restaurant, so anyone who’s interested can find me, or ask me about somewhere they’ve not visited and are curious about. If you’re ever nearby, I love to meet new people who follow my antics on Twitter and the blog, so do please come and say hello, and introduce yourself! I’m very friendly, and whenever possible love an excuse to grab a cup of coffee or a bite to eat, and will happily talk about almost anything with you. And yes, I’m single so ladies form an orderly queue please! We don’t want anyone getting hurt now. 😉

Once we have our website up and running (project start meeting coming up soon – most exciting stuff which will no doubt be tweeted about with much passion!), I’m thinking about integrating my foursquare/Gowalla activities in some way too, and also potentially rewarding our most regular visitors on each service in some way (if you start checking in now, you’ve a good chance of entrenching yourself at the top of the list). If you have any thoughts on either platform, or on what I’m doing with them, or even just want a friendly chat, do please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.


The Wineyard & Deli Spring Wine Fair

March 18, 2010

Another exciting event coming up folks! On April 30th, we will be having The Wineyard & Deli’s Spring Wine Fair at the Headway Hotel, Morecambe. With 6 of our biggest and best suppliers already confirmed in attendance, each with their own table of their favourite wines to tell you all about, this is shaping up to be a fantastic evening for wine lovers. We are expecting to open at least 60-70 different bottles of wine to be tasted (d0n’t worry, there’ll be several of each bottle so we don’t run out!), offering a great selection from all corners of the world, and at all sorts of price levels.

Sounds good right? Well you’ll need a ticket from us to get in, and they only cost a measly £7.50 (Nearly 10 wines a pound!). Tickets are only being sold in advance (none on the door), so swing by The Wineyard and get yours today. Tickets have always been popular for events like this in the past, and are likely to sell out. Get in touch (contact details below) if you’d like some reserving until you can get in to see us.

Event Details:

Date: Friday 30th April, 6-9pm.
Venue: The Headway Hotel.
Entry by ticket only, available from The Wineyard & Deli for £7.50.
Tel: 01524400011 to reserve and pay.
Over 60 wines from around the world to taste.

Tasting: Central/Eastern Europe

March 14, 2010

On the 1st April 2010, we’re having a fascinating tasting of wines from the lesser-known parts of Europe at The Wineyard & Deli. Nothing from France, Italy and Spain; think instead of places like Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Germany for example. Some of these are countries long known for crafting some of the world’s best wines (Germany’s Rieslings in particular are widely regarded as world-class), and we’ll be taking you on a whirlwind tour of some of our favourites from our current range. Others are still up-and-coming, but offer great value for money, such as a couple of Bulgarian wines that sell very well week-in-week-out.

We will also be having a special guest speaker with us, Kerstin Hammes who will be presenting 1 or 2 of her family’s own wines from the Mosel Valley in Germany. This is a rare and fantastic opportunity to hear from someone with first-hand knowledge of wine production.

If you’re interested in joining us in trying some of these interesting and delicious wines, along with a range of samples from our Deli food section, you can book your tickets by coming and seeing us in the shop, getting in touch via Twitter or Facebook, or giving us a call on 01524 400011. You can also drop us an e-mail (Ben@thewineyard.co.uk – Please make the subject “Tasting Tickets” and specify within your e-mail which tasting you are interested in).

Tickets are £10 each and are limited, so book early to avoid disappointment. They are sold on a strictly first-come first-served.

Deli of the Year 2010 – We need your help!

February 4, 2010

Your favourite local food and drink shop, The Wineyard & Deli, is officially competing to be named Deli of the Year 2010, and we need your help! If you think we deserve to crowned Deli of the Year (and if not, get in touch ASAP and tell me why so we can step up our game before the contest is over), you can vote in one of two ways. First, and easiest, is to pop over to the following web-site:

http://www.purplelove.co.uk/nominate/vote/

Everything is explained there, and there’s a few boxes to fill out your details, and why you think we are a cracking Deli (again, if you don’t I really want to hear from you, pronto). In the coming days, we should also have a nice little stack of old fashioned voting slips you can fill out and post off, or give to us to send off. Voting has its perks by the way; a lucky winner drawn at random during the summer will get a trip for 2 to Spain to see the olive harvest, expenses paid courtesy of the competition organisers! Take a look around the website for more info.

The second stage of our candidacy requires us to submit as much top-notch evidence of our brilliance as we can get our paws on, such as photos of the shop, our stock & displays, press releases and quotes, customer comments, etc. Rather than just send in a bland batch of pictures of the shelves, I want as many of you to get involved as possible and get lots of snaps of yourselves and our produce.

If you’re eating and drinking stuff from the Wineyard, take a quick picture, preferably with yourself and a nice big cheesy grin and thumbs up, and get them in to us ASAP (email, Facebook, Twitter, or a print given in person – whatever’s easiest for you). It doesn’t have to be just yourselves or everyday stuff either – the more unusual or outrageous you can make it, the better! Just some quick and simple ideas: take pictures of us or your friends around the shop and out and about with our goods, take some of our food on a picnic, organise a party and get us to kit you out with all you need, climb a mountain and have a toast at the summit, go camping & cook our sausages over a stove with a few beers to wash them down; I’m sure you can think of more and better things yourselves.

Any tributes you can make to The Wineyard would also be absolutely wonderful; the more creative the better! Stuff like a nice big poster proclaiming your love for our shop, or perhaps a message written in the snow since it’s coming down thick and fast again at the moment. We’ve got until June to organise the supporting material we’re going to submit, and for votes to be collected, so there’s no immediate rush, but do get in contact if you’re thinking of doing anything – it’s bound to warm our hearts and earn you some discount in-store if nothing else! 😉

As an extra incentive, my favourite customer-contribution will win themselves a prize of some sort (I’ll be working on this in the weeks to come, more details to follow at a later date – At the moment I’m thinking a quality bottle of wine, a selection of our food, or a mixed case of beers for example). I’ll be deciding the winner based purely on my own personal favourite – anything that makes me laugh is bound to be in with a good chance, as is anything demonstrating some serious effort and love for what we do here. Just make sure you give us your name, and contact info, when you send anything in.

And if you want us to do something different or better at the shop, I’m 100% serious about you getting in touch and telling me. As well as being a lot of fun to get involved with, this contest also gives us a great chance to really evaluate what you all think of The Wineyard & Deli, and what you’d like to see us change or do more of. After all, each and every one of you is why we’re here, so I want to be absolutely certain each and every one of you is as happy as possible with us. I’m actually out of the shop all next week (6-14th Feb) but I’ll be checking my emails and the blog to see who’s been in touch, and I’ll be on Twitter and Facebook regularly as usual. I’ll also be writing up notes on recent tastings for the blog so keep an eye out for that.

Lastly, I’m thinking of putting together some new mixed cases of wines for special offers later this month, primarily to offer online via Facebook & Twitter, but I’ll also be letting subscribers to our emails know about them. If there’s any particular themes you’d like to see in a mixed case (e.g. Italian whites, Spain other than Rioja, all Red/White/Rose, etc – anything at all) get in touch via the usual methods and let me know. Suggestions for what you’d be willing to spend on a mixed case of 6 or 12 bottles would also be useful.

If you’ve read this far, thanks for taking the time to do so, and for having such an interest in what we’re up to – we love you ever so much for it and we’ll do our very best to keep things fresh and interesting whenever we see you.

All the very best,

Ben.

Next tasting: New wines just in – 4/2/2010

January 30, 2010

The next tasting at The Wineyard & Deli will be held on Thursday 4th February, and will feature some of the best new wines to arrive on our fine shelves in recent weeks. We’ll be covering both red and white, old and new world wines. There’s some fantastic stuff lined up for you all, as the following provisional wine list* demonstrates:

  • Chateau Nicot Bordeaux Blanc 2008 (Bordeaux, France) – £9.99
  • Kendall-Jackson Sauvignon Blanc 2005 (California, USA) – £11.99
  • Peter Lehman Margaret Semillon 2004 (Barossa Valley, Australia) – £13.49
  • Lawson Dry Hills Gewurztraminer 2007 (Marlborough, New Zealand) – £13.49
  • Azpilicueta Reserva Rioja 2003 (Rioja, Spain) – £11.99
  • Trinity Hills Pinot Noir 2008 (Martinborough, New Zealand) – £12.99
  • Peter Lehman Mudflat Ebenezer Shiraz 2004 (Barossa Valley, Australia) – £13.49
  • Cecchi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2006 (Montepulciano, Italy) – £15.99

If this has suitably whet your appetite for more, get in touch with us pronto to book your tickets. Places cost £10 each, and are in limited supply, and all tickets must be bought in advance. You can contact us in one of the following ways:

  • Email: Barry@thewineyard.co.uk
  • Telephone: 01524 400011
  • Visit us: 23 Princes Crescent, Bare, Morecambe.
  • Twitter: http://twitter.com/thewineyard
  • Facebook: Search “The Wineyard & Deli”

*Wines named are subject to change dependent on stock availability and attendance – the more people attend, the more we can spend on the wines. Encourage your friends to join you and we can show you nicer wines, it’s that simple! 🙂