Paula’s Wines of the Week – 11th August 2021

Paula’s Wines of the Week – 11th August 2021

UK Wine Show podcast: 15-years of learning

Chris Hogg’s 2007 English winemaking homebrew extravaganza may have been just a minor mention in the news section of the UK Wine Show podcast but it prompted the WineUncorked investigative nose to wonder what happened afterwards?

The UK Wine Show’s back catalogue of podcasts is vast – there’s now 669 half-hour shows to listen to, including Show 62 from August 2007 where the main topic was how to match spicy foods to wine in an interview with Warren Edwardes from Wine for Spice with his range of aromatic sparkling wines – blends of Cava and Muscat that match chilli-hot Indian, Thai, Malaysian and even Mexican foods.

Each show also starts with that week’s wine news headlines, read by Jane Scott, the founder partner of the show along with husband Chris Scott who also run the wine tasting company ThirtyFifty. Catching up with the wine news is useful background knowledge for any wine enthusiast and the headlines from 2007 were just as fascinating – my ears pricked up considerably with the mention of local (to me here at WineUncorked HQ in the UK Midlands) homebrew shop that was making, bottling and selling 1,500 bottles of British wine made with imported grape juice every month. But what, I wondered, had became of this Black Country British wine success?

Contacting Chris Hogg at Hamstead Brewing Centre, I found that the Birmingham-based family business was still going strong. Although he’d stopped making wine he now stocks his own range of wine kits that contain concentrated grape juice to allow the homebrewer to ferment and make their own wines at home.

Times have moved on in the world of podcasts as well as with homebrew wine. Jane Scott tells me that she’s ‘not certain how people first heard about our podcast in the early days other than we were hosting a lot of wine tastings and with word of mouth our audience increased. We were one of very few wine podcasts at the time and so we always came up on i-Tunes if you were searching on wine.’

After downloading, those early podcasts then had to be transferred to your ipod for personal listening. These days downloading is automatic if you subscribe. Making the listening of the UK Wine Show, and the many other wine podcasts queuing up on my iphone, easy to listen to while I’m out in the garden dealing with weeds, sowing seeds or generally looking off into the distance at the Welsh hills wondering when the rain will arrive.

Wine Podcast reviews by

UK Wine Show
5* rating
Chris Scott’s half-hour weekly show explains the UK wine scene with interviews with wine experts. There’s also a round-up of that week’s wine news with analysis from Chris. An extensive back catalogue of shows going back to 2006 are worth listening to. The shows do stop for a month during August and December to allow Chris a holiday in New Zealand to visit his family.

The Drinking Hour with David Kermode
4* rating
Starting earlier this year, UK-based FoodFM’s range of food and drink-related shows can be found online or automatically downloaded via your podcast app. The Drinking Hour’s magazine format allows David Kermode to interview drink experts, including many from the wine industry, to give a pleasant chat-and-learn listen. Freddie Bulmer, buyer for The Wine Society, has a regular slot, giving insider info, plus interviews with top wine names like Oz Clarke and Jancis Robinson. Sponsored by the IWSC (International Wine and Spirit Competition) so there’s regular mentions of award-winning wines but it isn’t intrusive.

Wine 101
Weekly 20-minute bites of wine learning from VinePair’s Keith Beavers. His intense delivery style takes some getting used to (okay dude?) but there is some sound knowledge within it. The show’s American home comes through in the choice of topics (Sulfites, American Red Blends) and how it’s explained but there’s also a large back catalogue of explainers on wine regions, grape varieties and wine styles. Worth trying but may you get irritated.

Bottled in China with Emilie Steckenborn
Originally designed to reflect the up-coming Chinese wine scene, the show has now broadened out to encompass food and drink from across the world. Which is a bit of a shame as the shows that focus on what’s happening in China and how they grow their grapes in areas of desert and snow-bound regions is fascinating. Pick and choose what you want to listen to.

Matthew’s World of Wine and Drink
This educational podcast is hosted by Matthew who moved to Napa Valley after growing up in Manchester. Which makes for an interesting perspective – the Brit in the USA. Mostly 15-20 minute monologues on a particular wine style or grape variety, interspersed with 45-minute interviews with wine makers (which aren’t quite so fascinating). Matthew is at heart a teacher and if that’s what you want in a podcast then try this.

The English Wine Diaries
Another new wine podcast start for 2021. Rebecca Pitcairn (who also writes The Southern Quarter magazine) talks about English wine with sommeliers, vineyard owners and wine writers. Very focused on all things to do with English wine but as this is an area that is expanding rapidly and changing quickly then there’s much to have a go at. Let’s see if it lasts.

The wine rating system uses a maximum of 5 stars:

5* outstanding – the top rating given by
4* very good wine
3* good wine but over priced
2* a disappointing wine
1* little to offer
0* avoid – pour down the drain

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© Paula Goddard 2021