Only in August

Fellow Wine Lovers,

‘“Well, right here, the United States is lowest in numerous categories.  We’re lower than the world.  Lower than Europe.’  – oh Donald, that’s true in oh so many ways!  It was only Monday but we already had the quote of the week in the bag – it was as if our friend in the White House didn’t quite have a full grasp of the figures in front of him.  However one would always hope that the even simplest of souls could work out that any US total would always be less than the overall world total.

If none of the paragraph above makes any sense to you, cut and paste the italicised quote into your favourite search engine, sit back and enjoy!

Anyway, enough about the activities across the pond, what’s news over here?  Having spent last week barbecuing fish and dipping tentative toes into the English Channel whilst pretending some days that I could quite easily be in Spain it was back to reality on Monday.  Spending any time away from London for the first time this year was a joy and indeed it was very easy to imagine that nothing was wrong in the world when the days consisted of walking the dog, surfing (for some), eating local treats and perhaps the odd glass of wine.  A not-so-quick pit-stop at Fleet services on the way back up quickly burst any bucolic bubble and so I was well prepared for London when it arrived.

It is, however, now August and, as we all know, even in a good year it becomes silly season in the news media as real news dries up and people slope of on hols.  So, in a year that has been so dominated by just one news story, I imagine the hacks who weren’t quite quick enough to get their summer holidays in the diary have been sitting at their desks with their hair in clumps – which leads us to an occasional feature called, ‘Only in August: headlines that shouldn’t be…’

(In fairness, they are booze related and all from The Drinks Business pages but that doesn’t make them any less ‘true’!)

Ice cream containing spirits now legal in New York state

Well thank goodness for that.  The good people of New York needed some good news after the torrid months they have had and frankly what could be better than knowing your rum ‘n’ raisin might actually have real, cheap, cooking rum in it, up to a max of 5% – I know, if only we could buy it here…

Keeping with the spirit of additives in, er, spirits:

Spirit flavoured with silkworm poo released in Japan

Eager not to be outdone by the Americans it would seem, this is from The Mitosaya Botanical Distillery.  The silkworm droppings have been traditionally used in Chinese medicine since ancient times and are believed to improve blood flow and relief pain in joints and the abdomen.  Whether this is still true when distilled to 42% we can’t say but we do have our opinion…

Fortnum & Mason has struck a deal with Tyneside’s only urban winery, Laneberg, to produce its first own-label English still white wine.

I really want to be positive about this but I’m still not sure that this is what we’ve been waiting for.  The grapes for the wine come from Poulton Hill Estate in the Cotswolds and are then transported 270 miles to Gateshead to be vinified, which immediately feels like an unnecessary journey to me but anyway.  It’s not a gimmick, the wine was blind tasted and chosen without prejudice but I still can’t quite get my head around the purpose of urban wineries.  I am, of course, a dinosaur still immersed in the dying realm of high street retail, what do I know …

And finally, the one that made me feel warm inside for some reason:

Japanese train station to release first wine

Platforms 3 & 4 at Shiojiri train station have been home to vine laden pergolas since the late 1980’s, planted as a welcome to visitors, for this is a gateway to Japan’s wine country.  They’d never made wine from the grapes before but decided to make 100 bottles to celebrate 60th anniversary of Shiojiri’s elevation to city status.  As I said, it’s just a nice story that leaves a warm feeling….

Outside of wine and west country holidays we welcome Fulham back up to the Premiership, Arsenal win the FA cup to go into the Europa League Group stages, relegating Tottenham to the Europa League qualifiers (HA!), Chris Froome looks like he’s moving closer to retirement whether he likes it or not and the cricket is collapsing. 

Potentially the biggest disappointment of the week is the fact that Brazilian winger, Everton is likely to choose Benfica as his new home, rather than the blue surroundings of Goodison Park.

And finally, a warning to Wayne, for when he goes a-travelling to Belgium with his wife.

Man thrown out of Belgian IKEA for secretly shopping with wife

IKEA currently only allows one customer per household, in line with the current Belgian government rules – this gentleman however flouted them and will now become the butt of many jokes around Ghent and beyond.  The moral of this story, never get caught in IKEA, full stop!

That’s all from us for now, it’s hotting up, rosé is chilling down and we’re ready to help you enjoy the sunshine – we’re here until 7pm today and until 6pm tomorrow – come and say hello!


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