7 September 2012

Must be talking to an angel

I discovered Naked Wines when I went to a marketing event in Norwich. I was supposed to be learning about building successful brands. Instead, this hot, Irish man stood up and started talking about wine. By all accounts I listened to that presentation!

The hot, Irish guy introduced me to the concept of wine buying with a social purpose. I love wine, but unless I'm in a vineyard, eyeball to eyeball with the producer, I rarely think about the people behind the bottle. I guess most wines fall into the category of what I view as the "mass produced wines you see on the shelves of Tesco or Waitrose". And don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with those wines, lots of them taste pretty good.

In England, we often hear about local farmers campaigning about the cost of milk. About how the big, bad supermarkets squeeze farmers to beyond levels where any living can be earned. But it never occurred to me the same could be true of wine. 

Lovely Picpoul and how you rate the wine

Naked wines supports independent wine growers. This means that when you buy wine from them, you'll never have heard of the brand and sometimes the stocks run out of the wines you really like. But each of the wines has been made by a family vineyard or a small, artisan producer. And, by you buying the wine, you are directly investing in that vineyard and personally helping to ensure that winery continues to be in business. And, you pay a fair price for a bottle of wine.

And do you know what, maybe I do feel a bit better about drinking the wine when I feel I am doing good for the world (#fact, by me drinking wine, I am helping someone). But that's not even the best bit.

You know those adverts where you give money to charity and you receive updates from the children, or ponies or forest you have helped to save? Well it works just the same for Naked Wines!

When you invest in Naked Wines, you become an Angel. As an Angel, you receive updates from the growers to let you know how they're getting on. How the grapes are ripening this season, new wines they have on the market and other little things they happen to be excited about.

OK, so I haven't exactly saved a breed of endangered snails, but it makes me feel pretty good.
Another great thing about the site is that you can share your experiences with others. So, if I had a particularly enjoyable session on a case of Picpoul de Pinet, I can let other people know about it. And they can let me know what they liked and didn't like too. It's not even that poncey either, as the people talking about the wines are mainly normal people, like me.

And the wines have been pretty good too. I have especially enjoyed:
My only complaint would be that they claim to be a social brand, yet they are rubbish at acknowledging and responding to mentions on social media. I talk about them all the time on Twitter because I think they are great. I talk about when a new delivery arrives, which wines I've liked, what I'm doing when I drink the wines... Look, basically I love them.

All I ask, is show me a little love in return. Just the odd tweet. Just a tiny mention. Let me know you're listening! After all, you are talking to an Angel.

Disclaimer: drink sensibly n that ;)

1 September 2012

A view that's worth sleeping on the ground

When my brother invited me to go camping with him this summer, I didn't jump at the idea. I mean, I'm not exactly the camping type. I don't own a sleeping bag, I drink expensive wine and I drive a Smart Car.

But the Olympic sailing was taking place down the road at Weymouth and I thought I would rough it for the night. So we stuffed a duvet and a few bottles of plonk into the Smart and set off for the coast.

We were staying at Eweleaze Farm. This is a working farm, but for a few weeks a year, the site opens for campers. You reach the site down a long, dusty farm track (which my Smart didn't exactly love!). At the hill crest, you are presented with the most stunning blue-green view.

The view from Eweleaze Campsite

The camping fields are situated in a secluded valley, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It includes ½ mile of private beach and cliffs, which now forms part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. So the view from your site will be nothing but beautiful beaches and craggy coastlines.

We were lucky because it was a clear weekend and from the site you could see right across the bay to Weymouth. You could actually see the Olympic sailing from our tent!

The squeeze drinking Pinot Noir from a blue, plastic cup!

My brother had already set up the tent (thank goodness) so all we had to do was build the fire, heat up the chilli and pour the wine. I'd brought with me one of my current wine favourites from Majestic, the Barista Pinotage 2010. It tastes of coffee, chocolate and berries and is even delicious drunk out of a blue, plastic beaker!

I've mentioned my brother, Bordeauxboy, before on this blog. He has and Advanced WSET qualification so always brings a good drop to the party. He had a lovely bottle of Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir which was peppery, fruity and delightfully dry. Again, drunk out of a plastic cup!

Me cooking chilli by the sea!

Although I slept on the floor, had to walk up the hill to the showers and use a long drop for my lady business, the view we woke up to over the blue bay in the morning was completely worth it (together with the bacon sandwich the squeeze fried up).

I wouldn't say I'm exactly a camping convert, but if you are going to sleep outside, it doesn't get much better than the serene charm of Eweleaze Farm.