Grapevine Archive for competition

Thu 22 Oct 2015

Photogenic Fizz

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New English Exhibition Sparkling wine
To celebrate the arrival of the first English wine under The Society’s Exhibition label we wanted to  mark the occasion by getting members involved in the festivities.

To that end, with the support of Ridgeview Wine Estates, we are running a photo competition with a six-bottle case of The Society’s Exhibition English Sparkling Wine up for grabs.

All you need to do to enter is send us a photo of you enjoying the wine (preferably somewhere in the UK) to, or upload to our Twitter or Facebook page using #PhotoFizz.


Of course, at The Wine Society staff love to get in on the fun as much as anybody and whilst they can’t win the grand prize we have had some entries from a couple of departments.

Here are Chris, Drew, James, Allan and Dulcie grabbing a quick moment between calls in Member Services.

Raising a glass in Member Services


… and a raised glass from some of the ever-welcoming Showroom team in Stevenage

Cheers! The Showroom team raise a glass of the new English fizz


We have already had some entries, but would love to see more.

Good luck!


Hugo Fountain
Campaign Manager


About the wine

The Society’s Exhibition English Sparkling Wine is a special cuvée put together exclusively for us by the award-winning Ridgeview team at their estate in the South Downs in Ditchling, West Sussex. This blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier is made in the same way as Champagne and has vibrant freshness and ripe fruit, and also now a touch of that toasty bready complexity you get with ageing the wine carefully on its fermentation lees. A delicious (and patriotic) way to start a celebration or toast the end of the working week!

About the competition

Upload a photo of you enjoying the new Exhibition fizz to our Facebook page ( or tweet them (@TheWineSociety) using #PhotoFizz by Friday 4th December. To find out more and to read the terms and conditions visit

Categories : England
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Sat 07 Jun 2014

Win a Wine Champion!

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Edit: this competition is now closed. Thanks very much to those who entered and congratulations to our winners, Nick Bignold, John Hill and William Mullen.

We are now just two days away from the unveiling of the 2014 Wine Champions, one of The Society’s most hotly anticipated offerings of the year.

So, in the spirit of a little weekend fun, why not put your own skills to the test and see whether you can identify this winner from the below clues? There’s a bottle of the wine in question up for grabs to the first three randomly drawn winners!

The buyers tasting candidates for the 2014 Wine Championship under blind conditions, all to find the best of the best in our range for drinking now.

The buyers tasting candidates for the 2014 Wine Championship under blind conditions, all to find the best of the best in our range for drinking now.


• This popular white wine is no stranger to Wine Champions, having been singled out in its category a number of times over the past few years.

• All of which is a testament to a number of things. Firstly, the quality we see in the valley in which its grapes are grown.

• Secondly the large winery behind it, with which The Society enjoys an excellent and longstanding working relationship.

• The grape with which it is made has also done remarkably well in previous campaigns, and this year is no exception. It is a fairly neutral variety, but one which many believe reflects its origins beautifully.

• Nonetheless, when tasted incognito it has put some seasoned tasters in mind of Burgundy, rather than its actual location some 7,000 miles away!

• Still none the wiser? An anagram of the wine’s name is ‘Ethyl Raid? Yes, it is! Concha in on the act.’

Leave us a comment, or reply to the tweets and Facebook posts about the competition by noon on Monday 9th June, and we’ll draw the lucky winners during the week. (Open to Society members only).

Good luck, and we hope you enjoy the 2014 Wine Champions!

Edit: this competition is now closed. Thanks very much to those who entered and congratulations to our winners, Nick Bignold, John Hill and William Mullen.

Categories : Miscellaneous
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Wed 02 May 2012

High hopes, low barometer?

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Ewan Murray wasn’t the only Society taster putting his palate through its paces recently. Last week others were judging too. Here’s what happened on one of those days.

Tim Sykes

Some of the wine trade’s finest palates, including those of four of The Society’s buyers, were out in force last week as judging took place at the annual Decanter World Wine Awards. Thousands of wines from hundreds of viticultural regions were sniffed, swilled and spat over the five gruelling days of assessment and analysis.  Judges were faced with the olympian task of sorting out the top wines into the customary Gold, Silver, Bronze and Commended categories, with the best of the best being put forward for regional trophies.

Michael Schuster

Having been invited to judge on the Friday session at this year’s event I was delighted to learn that not only had I drawn one of the longest straws possible, tasting on the Burgundy panel, but also that I would be sitting next to Michael Schuster, Society Committee member and stalwart of the Decanter Burgundy panel for many years.

Michael assured me that he and the various Burgundy judges had, earlier in the week, awarded several Gold medals, so I sat down at 9.30 on Friday morning almost salivating at the prospect of blind tasting over 80 white and red Burgundies.

Come 4.30 in the afternoon, my enthusiasm had completely evaporated. Of the many wines we had tasted, from Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune to Premier Cru Meursault and from Bourgogne Pinot Noir to Premier Cru Morey St Denis, just two wines had, in the judges’ view, merited a Bronze medal. No Silvers, and certainly no Golds. “The most disappointing day’s tasting I have had in the ten years I have been judging at Decanter” was Michael’s bleak assessment.

My fellow judges and I were baffled as to the reasons for this lacklustre showing from one of the greatest wine regions of the world. We were tasting Burgundies mainly from the excellent 2009 and 2010 vintages, so how come the wines didn’t shine? One reason could be that barometric pressure was very low on Friday and that wines often fail to shine in such conditions. Our only other explanation was that few of the top producers in Burgundy enter their wines in competitions because demand for their wines outstrips supply several times over, particularly in a small harvest such as 2010. The great and the good of Burgundy will have sold out of their wines some time ago. However, as we had no idea whose wines we were tasting we could not verify this assertion. What remains clear is that earlier in the week many Burgundies were awarded Gold and Silver medals, so our day?s tasting was not representative of the week?s overall quality.  Thankfully, at the end of the final session our faith was restored when we were treated to six Gold medal winning wines from previous days? judging, all of which merited their award and indeed two of which we selected for regional trophies.

I retired to a local hostelry at the end of the day with some of my fellow judges for a well earned pint of ale. The general consensus was that a good pint of beer was infinitely more appealing than an average glass of Burgundy.

Tim Sykes
Head of Buying