In a new instalment of the Rathfinny Diaries, our Brand Ambassador, Richard shares an insight into a week in the life of his job which naturally includes plenty of wine tasting.
Written by Richard James
I would like to think that being a Brand Ambassador involves wearing a lycra outfit with a huge Rathfinny logo stretched across my chest as I fly around the UK with a glass of Sussex sparkling in my hand – alas it’s not quite like this!
There is no typical week for me. All I do know is that every week will include bubbles and meeting people – two of my favourite things. So, how about the other week when I left the wonderful whale backed Downs and headed for the huge skies of the Midlands. I had a week booked away meeting with customers, alongside my partner in crime, Kate McFruin, Account Manager for Liberty Wines (our national distributor).
Monday was normal – 6am in the gym, then a day of catching up with emails and phone calls to ensure all was secure in the world of Rathfinny wine before I departed the county with a glass in hand.
Tuesday – A 4.30am alarm call and I hit the road (didn’t pack my flying cape) and ventured north for our first meeting with an independent wine merchant – an Aladdin’s cave of vinous wonder in Nottinghamshire. A full portfolio tasting was conducted with the owner and staff and plans concocted for a summer event to utilise their outdoor space and promote our wines – can’t wait! No rest for the wicked as the diary was full and we swept off to another retailer for a thorough discussion on all things MLF, TCA and VA* with the owners.
From here I was off to a stunning country house hotel to undertake a session of wine training for their staff. This was a proper double act with Kate leading on the science of wine and wine tasting and then yours truly stepping in to entice the team with Rathfinny sparklers. An interactive afternoon with the team and then we had to say our farewells and head off to the bright lights of Nottingham. At last, food was the order of the day as it was now approaching 21.00hrs and this little silverback was getting hungry! Dinner was with a customer and allowed us the time to discuss how our wines were going, how else we could collaborate and also get the low down on his new enterprise in the city.
The following day included three further sessions of staff training for various customers and one portfolio tasting leading to an evening over in the capital of Rutland and its newest wine bar. A fun food pairing evening was had by all and it was great to see all our wines being served. Hitting the sack rather late that evening, it was back to it for the final day. More portfolio tastings at two gastro pubs, one restaurant and one wine merchant. I always purchase wine when I visit a new shop but this time, I left with a new cycle top! More on this to follow. The evening was wrapped up with two back-to-back seated tutored tastings of our four sparkling wines with a little palate loosener of a Seven Sisters G&T. Both groups survived their two-hour sessions with me as I shared my musings on our wine, the production process and the Estate in general. Then it was back into the bat mobile and returned home in the wee hours of Saturday morning to get ready for a weekend with my wifey, my tribe and my dog.
Next week? Sussex followed by the beautiful Cotswolds!
*MLF Malo Lactic Fermentation, TCA 2, 4, 6-trichloroanisole (aka cork taint), VA Volatile Acidity