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Ep 7: TNWG Wine Times: How Do I Learn More About Wine?

🤔 Probably the most often asked questions and even more so over the last few weeks coming up to the Festive Period have been:


  • ❓ 'I don't know too much about wine, how do I find out more?'

  • ❓'I am interested in learning more about wine but I don't know where to start'

  • ❓'I really would like to know more about wine, but I don't really have time to research the topic and I do not want to spend money on wine I am not sure about'

  • ❓'Wine is expensive and with the likes of the rise in living costs, it is difficult to try new varietals and types of wines because I want to ensure I am picking a wine I will like first off'


So in this edition, my aim is to try and unpackage some of this, so that you don't have to! This is not an exhaustive list either and there are more things that you can do than what I am about to suggest below, but these will aid your understanding on wine and I am always here for questions too - so feel free to use me as a resource or ask me to delve deeper into a topic!


🍷A Few Simple Steps to Learning More About Wine and the Wine World 🍷


Okay, so let's start with a few easy steps you can take to learn more about wine:


🍷FIRST - Do not be afraid to try different bottles and styles


  • There is a great stigma even in today's society, around wine but I'm here to throw away the old textbook and tell you that the best way you can learn and explore wine is through doing. It is your own palate that decides if you like or dislike something and that is dependant on no one else aside. So try what you can to explore!


🍷SECOND - Use experienced professionals to aid your development and understanding


  • That doesn't mean spend loads of your hard earned money on tastings - which of course you can do, but would already probably make you feel uncomfortable.

  • It means, in the UK as an example, go to independent wine stores and even household brands like Majestics too, who will have free tastings and be able to discuss with you different styles, what they expect to taste like - and in some cases, try before you buy too, alleviating the concerns around expenditure.

  • Or of course if in Sheffield, reach out for personalised tastings, education, staff training or look for updates on my monthly wine tasting events too where you can bring friends, colleagues, family to events in a fun, social environment!


🍷THIRD - Use Social Media to find Wine Educators


  • The internet was developed to aid world development and understanding (alongside may other elements) - so why not utilise your phone or computer to follow a number of well known wine writers from newspapers published or social wine influences (plug @thenorthernwineguy) on other social media platforms. They will likely have websites (here is mine) where there will be day to day topics discussed, wines recommended and explanations or rationales for why one wine tastes in one way and another completely different.


🍷FOURTH - Make Notes on Good and Bad Wines


  • ✍️ As mentioned earlier, tastebuds are unique to you and you alone. So only you can decide which wines you like and which wines you do not like. A notebook is probably a little dated these days (although I still like a hard copy) and it can be as detailed or not as you like. But to start with, why not just take a photo of the wines you like on your phone or write the names down - also almost as importantly, the ones you do not too.

  • ✍️ If you want to take that to the next stage, then why not add the price of the bottle that you paid, where it was from and why did you like it? What made you think that you wanted more or that you put it in a category where you would buy it again.

  • 🤔✍️ You can go into as much detail or not as you like, but I would always recommend taking a photo or making a note of a wine you liked and ask yourself why was that? (It will help in future explorations - method to my madness!)

  • Or if you really want to embrace technology, use an app like Vivino where you can snap the bottle and then write your own review, which is held under your account in one place too!


🍷FIFTH - SIGN UP to The Wine Society!


  • Do not worry, this is not an ad! Just purely a recommendation from me. There is NO monthly subscription, there is NO minimum number of bottles required and better yet it gets delivered to your door with delivery included!

  • You pay £40 to become a member BUT on your first order that is £20 credit for wine. So therefore, it effectively is a £20 one off lifetime membership where you then own a share, which gives you access to their wines, alongside wine talks free of charge online and tastings too. The diversity and prices of wine are second to none - I have done it for a decade or more and it was one of the best things I ever did - so hence my recommendation today!


🍷SIXTH - Try a Wine and Spirits Education Trust Course

📖 The best way and the way in which the vast majority of wine experts and wine writers have learned in the recent past is via WSET Courses. It is the world's leading provider of drinks qualifications.


Do not worry, these come in very basic levels upto very professional levels - but if you want to learn a bit more about the wine world - a 1 day Level 1 course will be a great way to do just that, with a better understanding of grape varietals and wine regions around the world in an easy learning environment. Believe me, you will get the bug! 😁


🍷 SEVENTH - 📰 Read from Informative Sites!

Here are a handful of sites that I have used in the past to help understand wine better:

Educational sites such as:

https://winefolly.com/ - Wine Folly - gives you detailed diagrams in a simplistic and informative format for learning about wine.

https://www.jancisrobinson.com/learn Jancis Robinson has an informative learning part of her site, to aid wine development.

https://www.wsetglobal.com/ WSET also has a knowledge base from which you can listen to podcasts and watch videos to learn more.

Then there are Wine News sites, which help with understanding what is going on in the world of wine:


🍷 FINALLY - EIGHTH - TRY, TASTE AND TRY AGAIN!


  • Do take yourself to wine tastings on offer, you will learn a lot more in a social environment - in Sheffield, make sure you look out for announcements from me to do just that!

  • Do Ask Questions! There is no wrong question to ask.

  • Keep trying different wines from different countries, you will be amazed how soil type, location, climate, altitude can change the same grape in a bottle into something entirely different!



Report back and share wines that you like to drink or are recommending too! I am always looking for more wines to try and to review and have fun!!!

And of course, if you are looking for personalised tastings or have further questions - do not hesitate to ask!


🗞️ LEADING WINE HEADLINES 🗞️


TOP NEWS ARTICLE THIS WEEK

The reality is there probably are far more important news articles this week in the wine world, however, I love the comedian Ricky Gervais and I also love the video - so follow the link. But the reality is, this is more about the increased exposure of sustainability and looking after the planet and this is a great rationale behind this (although the making him millions is also probably true too!).


OTHER ARTICLES OF NOTE


🍷UNUSUAL WINE REVIEW OF THE WEEK - White Sangiovese 🍷





🍷 Now, you may think I have the wrong bottle pictured above. When we think typically of Sangiovese, certainly in my mind, it is the red grape varietal synonymous with Tuscany and instantly transports me to a beach with sunshine too!


🍷 Sangiovese is in its most common format, found in blends of the well known Chianti wines. It is also the sole component in the likes of the Brunello di Montalcino and also is dominant of course in the Super Tuscan world - wines such as Tiganello! (What a wine that is!)


🤓 As a history lesson, the Latin world Jovic means blood of Jupiter - again you are thinking red automatically, right?


😮 Well here in lines the surprise. Thanks to House of Townend for this donation ands asking me to try their White Sangiovese. Produced by Barbanera, and at the special offer price right now of £9.99 - this is really something quite special and out of the ordinary. Fitting perfectly with the 'Unusual Wine Series'.


🟡 Yellow straw like in colour, instantly on the nose you are hit with this beautiful bouquet of flowers - orange blossom (taking me back to a sunny Italian day). On the palate, this is though more savoury. There are definitive floral hits but it comes with quince, and even a little soft spice but the savoury is apparent and therefore carries a little bit of body to it too.


🍷 A big hit in our household and predominantly because this can definitely hold up to many food items, the acidity is there too and with an ABV of 12.5% you have alcohol backed behind it too. This is a great food wine and one which will be perfect for those summer BBQs once we get back to spring onwards but for now, holds well and true with white meat, salmon, tuna steaks and we even had this paired with an onion curry too! A great find!


📈 MARKETS IN BRIEF 📉

On the week (as at 15:10 07/12) changes:


EQUITIES: ⬆️ FTSE 100 up 0.4%; ⬆️ DAX up 2.5%; ⬆️ S&P up 0.5%; ⬇️Nikkei 225 down -1.9%; ⬆️ Dow Jones up 1%;

COMMODITIES: ⬇️Brent Oil down 6.9%; ⬇️ Crude Oil down 7.2%; ⬆️ Gold up 0.1%; ⬇️ Silver down 4.7%; ⬇️ Copper down 2.1%

BONDS (in yield terms): ⬇️ UK 2yrs lower 0.0725%; ⬇️ UK 10yrs lower 0.2035%; ⬇️ German 10yrs lower 0.2775%, ⬇️US 2yrs lower 0.061%; ⬇️ US 10yrs lower 0.174%;



📈ASSET ALLOCATION - Monthly 📉


📈 Bond markets have been taken by the idea that rates in developed markets are now on hold and will be cutting by key central banks next year, thus bonds yields are starting to fall drastically. For the consumer, as mentioned last month, this means that the savings rates of banks and building societies will fall too - so again principal number 1 has to be to lock in savings rates if you have spare cash currently.


📈 On the FTSE100 - equities have done relatively well over the past month as a result of flows likely from ETFs and pension fund managers moving investments from bonds to cash, but overall the picture in the UK is diversifying from the US. Here my positioning changes and I look to Q1 next year to reduce exposure in UK equities and move more into US equities vs my fixed income to rebalance and keep well diversified whilst looking to the US for better growth overall.


📈 If the UK is in for a 'hard landing' post end of interest rate increases and savings rates drop off for funds, equities struggle and thus recession towards the back end of 2024, then property is likely to suffer too - and judging by the Nationwide Housing data it is slowly grinding along at a minimum positive performance of late so I am keen to lose some property (provided someone wants to buy it!) from now onwards as I feel the property market boom has finished for now and the tide has turned towards a buyers market.


➡️ In short, positioning is as follows:


  • Property (unwind where feasible and profit take on housing price moves over the last 5yrs).

  • Equities (long US Tech, long US homebuilders, reducing UK exposure consistently over the next month or so. Neutral Europe, marginally long EM and neutral China).

  • Bonds (some positioning but more as a hedge to the equities although most is in short dated bonds such as gilts).

  • Cash/Savings/ISAs/LISAs - maximise ISA limits at the best rate you can find - using 16k in the ISA and 4k in your LISA (if eligible - because the govt automatically gives you 1k in addition to that 4k investment each year) and if you missed out on the NS&I offering of the one year bond (at 6.2%) then as near to that on savings lock-in's for 1yr would be advisable in my view.

  • Fine Wine (has had a bad run this year after being the best alternative asset, that being said California and Italy are doing well - and ensuring I am exposed to those regions offsets some of the poor performance of Champagne - so overall increased diversity in regions for me).



Reminder, these are purely my own thoughts and if you are looking at asset allocation correctly, it would be wise to speak to a professional IFA (I recommended 3 in prior posts who would do great jobs for you).


Enough from me for this week - if you want to follow me on Instagram for ad hoc bits of reviews, feel free. Additionally, if you are looking for corporate or private wine hosting and tasting capabilities, feel free to reach out for a no obligation quote, you want to look at the fine wine investment world or you just have a random question on wine - feel free to reach out too!

Enjoy your weekend! Cheers! 🍷

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