Talking Wine – April 2013

Did you know that there was a vineyard in the heart of London? (Well maybe not quite the heart!!) The Forty Hall community vineyard in Enfield, north London, is a seven-acre estate run entirely by local volunteers It is the only sizeable vineyard in the greater London area, is completely organic and is situated near to Capel Manor – an organic farm run by a local horticultural college. The vineyard is currently in the process of planting two more acres but project manager Sarah Vaughan-Roberts has made it clear that there will be no further expansion after that. The first vineyard was planted in 2009 but the majority of the vines were killed off by frost. A second vineyard planted in 2011 should now produce its first crop this year although everyone is wary of being too optimistic after the poor summer of last year.

Those of you who follow cricket will know that England fast bowler Steve Finn batted for five hours to help England achieve a draw in the first test against New Zealand. What you won’t know is that he was bribed by his captain Alastair Cook to the tune of four cases decent wine if he batted through until tea. The tension mounted as Finn played and missed on numerous occasions but the wine was finally secured. Cook said he was happy to honour the bet and said he would consider similar bribes in the future. He said: “Bribing Steven seemed to work, so maybe we can apply that again. He gets well-rewarded for his efforts today.” Finn apparently wants the wine delivered in England rather than overindulge on tour – I await the order!!

If you had been fishing in Scotland recently you may have noticed a strange smell in the air. It appears that whilst supposedly cleaning the pipes, workers at the whisky plant Chivas Regal flushed away tens of thousands of litres of whisky into the local water treatment plant. Not quite a ‘Whisky Galore’ situation as the wine was not bottled but nevertheless rather a careless error which I doubt impressed the management. However a chance to acquire some free beer arose soon afterwards when a lorry overturned between Glasgow and Edinburgh and the locals felt their reward for helping clear up the mess was to remove several cases in lieu of payment. It all seems to be falling apart up north but please note that I have resisted Scottish jokes!!