It would be fair to say that I slightly fell into the wine industry. After studying genetics at university and realising that I didn’t want to work in a lab for the rest of my life I had to decide what to do next. A temp job doing data entry approving credit cards for people already in debt (not my finest hour) and then another as a receptionist paid the bills for a while until the call to the big smoke came. It seemed like a lot of my friends were moving to London and so I thought it was about time I got a permanent job somewhere and joined them. I had always enjoyed wine and so decided to have a go at working in the industry by applying for a place on Oddbin’s Trainee Manager programme. And, as they say, the rest is history.
Looking back now I’m not sure I ever thought about wine becoming a career – at the start it was just a fun job in a great city. But with the benefit of hindsight it was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only did I meet my husband through the trade, not to mention numerous friends, I have come to appreciate what a fantastic industry this is to work in. OK, I might be a little bit biased but it seems to me that the people who make up this industry are an incredibly kind, generous and friendly bunch. It’s safe to say that the wine industry is not one to make your fortune in – but this means that everyone in it is a part of it for the simple reason that they are passionate about wine. This is the same for your local wine store staff as the top names in the industry. The love of wine is a true democratiser and is the thing that binds us all together in the trade.
The prompt for writing this came as a result of being sent a bottle of wine out of the blue recently. Tuffon Hall vineyard in Essex wrote to congratulate me on the imminent arrival of my baby girl Sophia – sending me a bottle of their Bacchus which they had named after their daughter, Amelie. It was such a lovely thing for them to do and is just one example of the generosity and thoughtfulness of people in this industry. It meant even more to me though as, unbeknownst to them, Sophia had to be in the special care unit for two weeks after her birth as she had some breathing difficulties. So to receive that bottle with the lovely note when I came home from hospital without her really meant a lot.
Sophia is now home and doing well and I finally opened the Bacchus last weekend when my fellow monkeys came around to visit her. Of course, being sent a bottle of wine like that immediately makes you want to like it – and so I was pleased that Alex and Lenka both enjoyed it too. It seems to me that although sparkling wine is undoubtedly England’s calling card, Bacchus really deserves to be better known and celebrated too. Although it is a German crossing named after the Roman god of wine, Bacchus seems to have found its spiritual home here in the UK – producing wines redolent of an English hedgerow in summer with low alcohol and a refreshing style. In this case, the Tuffon Hall Amelie Bacchus is a mere 10.5% and would be the perfect accompaniment to a summer lunchtime picnic. Elderflower-scented with hints of tropical guava; crisp and refreshing – and above all easy drinking. Give me a glass of that rather than a brash Sauvignon Blanc any day.