Wine, Whisky, Cheese and Big Sam

Fellow Wine Lovers,

It’s been an admin week this week.  More correctly it’s been an admin week for Wayne this week.  One of the joys of him going on holiday for a fortnight is not just the fact that I get to sit in the boss’s big leather chair, put my feet on the desk and smoke his cigars but also I get to cherry pick the jobs I do.  This tends to mean that I do lots of tastings, less paperwork and certainly no admin.

‘You wouldn’t believe how busy I’ve been over the last two weeks, I’ve barely had a chance to sit down’, I lie, whilst dusting footmarks off his desk, ‘ so I never quite managed to get all the office stuff done – don’t suppose you could have a look through this pile please, see if anything is urgent?’

Anyway, in the midst of all this paperwork were some follow up requirements regarding the AWRS.  Of course, you all know what this stands for but, just to confirm, AWRS stands for Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme.  Quoting from this is ‘a requirement for anyone who, sells, offers or exposes for sale or arranges to sell alcohol to other businesses on or after the point at which excise duty is payable, to be approved by HM Revenue and Customs’.  All very exciting – another layer of bureaucracy but one intended to eradicate the black market and ensure that contraband/fake alcohol doesn’t get onto the high street.

So, anyway, we don’t do much wholesale but applied to register months back.  Consequently, this week, Wayne was required to spend half an hour on the phone with an HMRC representative, explaining our business activities.  It seems they know quite a lot about us, HMRC.  But in a good way – we pay our VAT, we pay our bills, we’re not in jail and we don’t look likely to go there in the near future.  The conversation Wayne had with the helpful chap from HMRC also revolved around things a wholesaler shouldn’t do, loopholes that shouldn’t be taken advantage of, rules that should not be bent and basically temptations he shouldn’t be led into.

He took notes.

He then went out to dinner with his financial adviser and met with some overseas investors keen to import their spirits into the UK but equally keen to avoid too much attention from the powers that be.  Armed with his notes from earlier he confirmed, on hidden tape as it transpired later, that he could take advantage of various loopholes, bypass some rules and would be genuinely happy to represent these investors interests here for a paltry £400,000.  He also said some indiscreet things about Prince William and the Euro’s…….

… No, of course he didn’t do or say any of this, that would be a stupid thing to do, having only just registered for the AWRS 67 days ago and having just had the rules outlined to him very, very clearly regarding what he can and cannot do.  £400,000 is just not enough money to make him throw away his whole career – he would be a dope to even consider it.

In other news, Sam Allardyce is on a last minute holiday to the Costa Blanca.


Things to do as the nights draw in

Lots of different options available here.  Drink more red wine.  Eat more casserole.  Play less tennis.  Drink less Rosé.  Watch more TV.  Take up sewing.  Or Yoga.  Run less.

Alternatively you could spend a couple of evenings at your favourite local wine shop, making use of our electricity and heating whilst eating cheese or tasting Whisky.

Yep, we have a couple of upcoming tastings that still have spaces on them.

Next Thursday, 6th October at 8pm, we have our first Wine & Cheese of the new season – back by popular demand after a summer of leisure – and at a mere £20 per person you not only get electricity and heating but you get copious amounts of cheese and some fab wine to.  I’m definitely going, care to join me – 4 spaces left, if you fancy bringing some pals?

Then later, on Wednesday, 23rd November at 8pm, we have our Whisky Masterclass.  We’ve never done a spirits tasting before and it seems we’ve been missing a trick.  In fairness we’re not actually doing it this time as we’ve coerced our Whisky expert, Ed, to come and take us on a malty tour of the auld country.  Again, £20 per person is the cost and, frankly, Ed is worth much, much more!

If you fancy either or both of these then please let us know as soon as you know – we’d hate for you to be disappointed.

Thursday 6th October at 8pm – £20 per person


Wednesday 23rd November at 8pm – £20 per person


Things to do during the day on Saturday

Clearly children need to be driven to sports events in far flung villages, dogs need to be walked and shirts need to be taken to the dry cleaners but, as they say in the gambling adverts, when the fun stops, stop!  So, once you’ve finished these activities why don’t you pop by and see us, have a chat with Alex about the Ryder Cup, have a chat with Wayne about Revenue & Customs and have a taste of the wines we’ve got open.

In order to avoid creating Ryder Cup waves, we won’t be tasting any European or American wines this weekend.  We will be visiting Australia instead and, having considered some of the events of the past week, we will be tasting the two of the aptly named Accomplice wines by de Bortoli.  The white is Semillon/Sauvignon and the red is a Shiraz.  They both retail for £8.99 and by goodness, they’re fair dinkum tasty!

Time for me to go before I get done for cultural appropriation – see you at the tasting table!

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