Our Trainee Manager Eve continues her adventure in wine with Majestic. A move to our Richmond store has spurred on thoughts of spring, sunshine and sparkles…
I am ashamed to say that I haven’t written for a while but the truth is I’ve been enjoying myself far too much. Moving to the Richmond store, as silly as it sounds, has put me on the London map. Everything feels closer and easier to reach, my friends are more accessible and my days off have become filled with less reading and writing and far, far more drinking and relaxing. That is not to say that I’ve stopped learning of course, I mean they do say that practice makes perfect after all. And now spring has sprung and boat race season, Ascot season and champagne season are all upon us…it’s a pretty good season all round to be honest. I can’t wait.
I’ve spoken before about friends and family and how certain styles and grapes remind us of those people we enjoy to share a bottle with. Now I want to talk about association, to events, weather, season. How we drink what we feel, what the weather dictates to us and what seems to fit in with what we’re doing at the time. This isn’t just the case with wine, it’s also the case with beers, ciders, spirits and cocktails too. We are entering a favourite time of year for many of us, seasons full of holidays, events, trips away but mainly what makes us happy is the promise of better weather. Less wind and drizzle, more sun and warmth. Lighter mornings and longer evenings. We love the sun, we love the summer. It makes us feel good, it makes us happy. Quite rightly too, we don’t see much of it so we better make the most of it whilst it’s paying us a cheeky visit. Other than the fine weather, the best thing about spring and summer are all of the wonderful, exciting things to do such as carnival, festivals, sporting events, weddings and my personal favourite, the simple British pub garden. Pint of fruit cider, poured over ice in one hand, packet of crisps attached to the other, sun on face, freckles out. Bliss.
There are definitely certain drinks that seem to match certain occasions and different styles that suit different weather. The next big event to come along in this neck of the wood is the boat race. Now fingers crossed we have a lovely warm day and if so for me the boat race is a day for fresh, crisp whites, ice cold and refreshing. A bottle of Vinho Verde with a slight spritz or perhaps a nice Spanish godello, citrusy and full of fruit. It’s a day to sit and chat with friends, enjoying the fresh air and watching the race on the river. Outdoors, sunshine, laughter. For others perhaps it’s a bubbles kind of day or maybe a day for drinking rose, cool and fresh, the taste of summer yet to come.
Then Ascot comes along in June and we’ll sit in the Grandstand and sip champagne. Bollinger for me. Yum. There’s truly nothing like wearing a beautiful dress and over the top hat whilst drinking ice cold bubbles and basking in the glamour of the day. Champagne makes the event, it’s frivolous, it’s fun and quite frankly drinking a pint of lager dressed like Julia Roberts at the races in Pretty Woman would hardly have the same effect. Now a pint at the rugby is a different story altogether. Cheap, cheerful and in a plastic cup. Nothing beats throwing your beer in the air as your team score a try and Leigh Halfpenny (with that lovely, lovely face) converts it, everyone jumping out of their seats, screaming how very proud they are to be Welsh. Or Scottish. English even. The same association is true of Wimbledon. Wimbledon screams Pimms. It bellows strawberries and summer fruits, tall glasses brimming with ice and jugs of Pimms being shared between families and friends. Pimms at Wimbledon symbolises all things summer. Sat on the grass, picnic blanket and nibbles at hand, sipping a summer cup, enjoying the utter Britishness of it all.
These associations of Ascot and Wimbledon are universal. All of my friends would only ever drink Pimms or bubbles on these days. There’s something to be said for the atmosphere the right drink makes. How it adds to the experience and really makes the day. It’s not only events that do this for us, the weather tells us what to drink too. In the winter it’s all hearty reds drank in front of the fire. Deep, plummy, spicy, gorgeous, indulgent wines matched with beautiful cheeses and home cooked, comfort meals. Curtains drawn, feet up, fire lit. A cuddle if you’re lucky. Now the weather is changing (fingers crossed) and it’s pub garden time, picnic season. Refreshing, thirst quenching, scrumptious. Week after week we have new deliveries of rose and it’s beautiful. Decadent. You can just see yourself sat, feet up, legs out, freckles scattering your nose; glass of ice cold Minuty in hand, chatting and laughing with your friends about summer plans and what to do with those bank holiday weekends. And so I’ve come to realise that these bottles of fermented grape juice aren’t just something to take the edge of the day. They come with a lot of baggage. Baggage and expectations, there’s a lot of pressure on these poor little guys to deliver, not only the perfect bevvie, but the perfect experience.
The more I learn about what goes into the making of this majestic liquid, the more I realise that we’re not just selling wine, we’re creating an experience. When we ask what you will be eating at your dinner party or where your wedding will be hosted; when we question the amount of people at your house warming or what day of the week you’re having those friends around; when we ask about glasses or ice, beer and spirits, it’s because in our heads we’re putting together the whole shebang, not just selling you 6 random bottles of wine.
So next time you fill your glass, whatever the weather, take a moment to sit back, relax and enjoy the moment you’ve created…Then throw it back and pour another!