Category Archives: News at The Vineyard

Inspiring Away Day

Guest Blog – Enham Trust

Managers from the prestigious Vineyard and Donnington Valley hotels had an inspiring day visiting the disability charity Enham Trust last month.

Thirty four senior managers were invited to the Trust, which is based south of Highclere, as part of the company’s social responsibility programme.

They volunteered to do some redecorating, and spruced up interior corridors at the Trust’s residential care homes.

They also had a chance to meet Enham’s disabled residents at a BBQ and were bowled over by the positive vibe and the high levels of independence amongst the residents, who live with a number of different physical and learning disabilities.

“Everyone was impressed with the work being done at Enham,” said Emma Jenkins, The Vineyard’s HR Director. “We learned so much and want to be involved with the charity in the future.  Our next project there may be joining forces with their gardening activities.”

“Most people are not born with a disability. It could be any one of us who has an accident or an illness which leaves us unable to manage. Enham Trust is there to help disabled people manage every aspect of their lives,” said Vicky Hamlen, The Trust’s Corporate Fundraiser. “Support from companies like The Vineyard Group is so important, and we really value their time and interest.”

Many of the charity’s clients, whose ages span 18 to 90, come from West Berkshire. The Trust offers a wide range of living, care, employment and community support to give disabled people choice in how they live their lives, and the ability to achieve high levels of independence.

Cathy Alexander
Enham Trust

Restaurant Host – Pino Marletta

How long have you worked at The Vineyard?
I started at The Vineyard over 13 years ago in March 2000.

What is the nicest thing a guest has said to you?
Some guests have mentioned that the reason for them coming to dine is to see me. Someone has said that I had made their night. When I’m away on holiday lots of people ask for me and say how much they missed me not being here. So overall it is lovely to have the recognition.

Who would you most like to enjoy an Afternoon Tea or dinner with?
It would of course be my wife. Due to working most evenings and weekend, the time we spend together is very precious.

Do you have a favourite wine to enjoy on a summer evening?
If I was eating I’d like a fully bodied red wine to match. However, before dinner I really enjoy a nice cold Martini.

What was it that attracted you to The Vineyard?
Previously we were living in London, and we decided we wanted to move to the countryside and have a better life for my family. The Vineyard owns some wonderful artwork and I have a passion for art. I also enjoy good food and wine so I really related to The Vineyard.

What is it that makes you stay?
The guests make me stay; here I am recognised.

If you could work anywhere in the world where would that be?
It would definitely be in my home town in Sicily.

What do you find are the main differences between your country and the UK?
Life is more relaxed in Italy and I feel there’s much more importance placed on family and enjoy long leisurely lunches with great food and wine.

What’s your favourite thing about the UK?
British people are so punctual and when they make a promise they keep it.

What do you like most about your job?
It would have to be the people. I work with a wonderful team and I get to meet interesting people everyday. Plus, it’s great to be a part of peoples’ Vineyard experience.

Join us for Afternoon Tea at The Vineyard from £22.50 per person.

T: 01635 528770
W: www.the-vineyard.co.uk

Ten out of Ten Trainee Management Programme

Long ago, well actually in 2011, ten of the UK’s premier properties got together to set up a training programme with a difference. Offering development through application, the trainee management programme provides successful candidates with an opportunity that is not to be missed.

With a commitment of 25 months, the programme offers each applicant access to five of these properties, spending five months working in a specific department in each property. This is an unrivalled opportunity for hospitality managers of the future, allowing a broad range of experience to be had in a relatively short space of time.

Candidates should be aged 19 or over and have either completed a qualification in hospitality management or have approximately one year’s experience in a reputable property.

Now in its second year the programme is finalising the successful applicants for the third intake of hospitality’s future stars.

The annual recruitment day:

This year the recruitment day took place at Penny hill park at the start of July.

Representatives of the 10 properties (Chewton Glen, Cliveden, Coworth Park, The Hinds Head, Lucknam Park, Mallory Court, Penny Hill Park, South Lodge, The Seafood Restaurant and The Vineyard) gathered together to put this year’s applicants through their paces.

From spaghetti and marshmallows, blind folds and cheese sandwiches to presentations, quizzes and interviews, the applicants had a full programme and a variety of tasks to showcase their talents, skills and abilities.

Candidates from year one and two were present to offer their support, and gave a great dose of realism in their presentations as they talked about their experiences on the programme and the opportunities that they had the pleasure of being involved in.

All in all it was an action packed, and very successful day.

The successful candidates will be announced shortly and will start their journey on 3rd September 2013. We look forward to welcoming them to our teams.

To apply to join next year’s programme take a look at the ten out of ten website.

The Judgement of Paris Blind Wine Tasting Event

The Judgement of Paris Blind Wine Tasting Event

Friday 24th May 2013 – 7.30pm onwards

Only a week to go before our second flagship event of the year, celebrating an infamous moment in history – The Judgement of Paris.

In the original blind tasting held in Paris in 1976, Californian wines were chosen over France’s very best by some of the leading wine aficionados of the day. But who knows what will happen this year? Only you can decide!

Get involved in this fun and interactive evening and enjoy:

  • welcome glasses of champagne and sparkling wine
  • the tasting of four wines (two whites and two reds, one French & one Californian in each category)
  • cheese, charcuterie and something sweet.

The result of the blind tasting will be announced at the end of the evening.

£30 per person
£25 per person when booking 4 or more tickets

Discover more – http://www.the-vineyard.co.uk/JudgementOfParis.asp

2012 Judgement of Paris Tasting results

Guests were given the opportunity last year to taste two white wines and two red and vote for their favourites. We couldn’t have asked for a more diplomatic result – the French white and the Californian red won the night!

Winning wines

  • Bourgogne, Chardonnay, Vincent Girardin, Burgundy, France, 2010
  • Waterstone, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, CA, 2007

To book your place at this year’s Judgement of Paris, please call us on 01635 528770.

Wine Terms: Sulfur

petermichaelwinery:

Sulfur has been used in wine making since Roman times. Yet, today its role in wine growing and making is often misunderstood.   Small amounts of sulfur are, in fact, essential for vine nutrition and for the stability of finished wines.

In the vineyard, sulfur is used to control molds and fungi, such as powdery mildew.  For this purpose sulfur compounds sprayed on the vines periodically.   As a vine nutrient, soils are rarely sulfur deficient so it is not routinely added as a nutrient.

In the winery, sulfur is used for its antimicrobial properties and as wine preservative that naturally protects the wine from oxidation.  The small amounts of sulfur compounds present in finished wines have no effect on the wine drinking experience except in the rare case of the drinker being truly allergic.  In point of fact, modern winemakers use far less sulfur than was common even a couple of decades ago.

Discover more about our Wine & Restaurant Director, Alan Holmes

Tell us a bit about you

Ever since an early age, I have been interested in the catering industry. Initially it was being a chef in the kitchen that enticed me, however it was during my time at college that I fell in love with the service side and developed a particular passion for wine. Having grown up in the North of England, wine was not a regular drink of choice, so when I was suddenly introduced to all things vinous I was immediately captivated!

From college to UK Sommelier of the Year

During my early days at Lancaster and Morecambe College, I was lucky enough to go on numerous wine tastings and a college exchange trip to Perpignan, before competing in regional food and wine service competitions. It was through winning one of these, that I was offered my first experience of Relais and Chateaux with a scholarship at Hambleton Hall and a subsequent position at Sharrow Bay. Here I had the fortuitous chance to work with Stephen Wilcock MS who really set me on the path to becoming a professional sommelier.

After 2 great years I moved back to my roots in Lancashire to work for Paul Heathcote at his eponymous 2 Michelin starred Longridge Restaurant, as this was the perfect opportunity to develop not only my wine skills, but also my managerial experience as I progressed from Assistant Sommelier to Restaurant Manager in 4 years. During my time here I was successful in winning the UK Sommelier of the Year in 1999 and being awarded an Acorn award from The Caterer and Hotelkeeper.

Tasting the world’s most amazing wines

In 2001 I was approached by Marcus Wareing to take over as Head sommelier at Petrus in St James St, London before moving it to The Berkeley Hotel where it is now known as Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley Hotel. This fantastic position gave me an opportunity to buy, serve and taste some of the world’s most amazing wines and vintages.

Chewton Glen, the South African Sommelier World Cup and more

By 2004 it was time to move into a more managerial role and Chewton Glen beckoned. This famous hotel has a long tradition of wine excellence with Gerard Basset being one of its best known previous sommeliers. Eight happy years were spent developing my management style, while still maintaining my contact with wines. Other awards and accolades followed when I was selected to represent the UK in the European Sommelier of the Year competition 2008 and the Wines of South Africa Sommelier World Cup 2010.

And now to The Vineyard…

After 8 years a move was again on the cards, and after a brief phone call and rapid interview process I was tempted to join The Vineyard, a hotel that I have long admired and visited in the past. Its amazing wine list of 3,000 wines was just too huge a temptation to resist and so the story continues….

Fishing, cycling, cooking and of course wine!

In my spare time I enjoy life in the great outdoors, be it walking with my partner, gardening, fishing, cycling or just spending time in the kitchen cooking whenever I can. However with wine, travel is always likely at some point and recent visits to Canada and California have proven highly educational.

Third Annual Wine Festival

A round up of last weeks wine festival. A fantastic event we hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did!

vineyardcellars:

The Third Annual Wine Festival – Positive Post Mortem!

The bottles have been consumed, the glasses washed and returned, and many satisfied customers are now awaiting their purchases to be delivered. I guess from any angle, the wine festival can be adjudged a success…

On Saturday 27th October, around 150 guests arrived at The Vineyard to taste their way through upwards of 100 wines. In actuality, the exuberance of the suppliers (myself included) meant that just short of 160 wines were opened. There really was just about every style from every wine producing country represented. Whilst I missed the first hour (presenting an on-air wine tasting to BBC Radio Berkshire’s Henry Kelly a.k.a. “Going For Gold”), the day really came into full swing in the afternoon, with a crowded room of enthusiastic critics. It was a good day.

Difficult to pin down individual successes now I’ve analysed what sold and what didn’t, but the New World probably came out on top in terms of bottles taken home, although France claimed the fizz sales with some great Champagnes being opened. South Africa did well in both red and white, and our organic/biodynamic supplier sold many bottles of unfiltered, unsulphured cloudy stuff which I was delighted about. Sometimes organic wines seem not quite as “polished” as their more sterile counterparts, but the taste sensation is almost always better.

Masterclasses were held throughout the day covering such topics as glassware, dinner party wines and how to taste wine professionally. Yohann was kept busy throughout the day answering anything and everything about wine and Daniel produced really quite stunning charcuterie and cheese plates.

Finally, as a true testament to the spirit of the day and the ardent will of our guests, the spittoons remained largely unused…

It was fun. We’ll do it again in 2013. See you there

James Hocking

Director of Wine
The Vineyard Cellars