On running and wine

A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with my twin sister, Anne. I don’t remember exactly what we were talking about, but the conversation came on to the subject of being healthy at our advanced age.

‘Well, at least I’m not fat,’ I said.

There was a pause. Quite a long pause. This wasn’t good.

‘But you [...]

The history of coffee: a seminar with Ian Picco

Coffee is interesting and I don’t know all that much about it. So it was really interesting to attend a seminar on the history of coffee at Texsom, presented by Ian Picco.

The Arabica coffee shrub, an evergreen, originates from the western islands of Ethiopia, and the first written account of coffee drinking dates back to [...]

Craft Dark Milk Chocolate tasting with Cocoa Runners

A while back I went to my first ever chocolate tasting. It was held at the Winemakers Club under the arches at Farringdon, with Spencer Hyman of Cocoa Runners. The theme was dark milk chocolate.

I know practically nothing about chocolate, so this was an interesting educational experience. It also gave me insight as to how [...]

Sometimes we don't taste the same wine often enough

Sometimes we don’t taste the same wine often enough.

That seems like a strange statement, I know, but let me explain what I mean by this by using music as a comparison.

I love music. Playing it, listening to it. But I wouldn’t enjoy it so much if I only got to hear each album, or song, [...]

In Seattle: Le Pichet and Bar Melusine

There are few compelling reasons to be rich. But one of them is so that you have enough budget to eat out all the time. While I was in Seattle for the Riesling Rendezvous conference, I ate at two rather different places. I recommend them both.

The first was Le Pichet. It’s a small French cafe [...]

In Oregon: heading to the coast and Cannon Beach

In a gap between visiting wineries in the Willamette Valley, I had the chance to visit the Oregon coast for the first time.

We stayed at Cannon Beach. It has a spectacular beach, with a distinctive feature – Haystack Rock. This looms up some 230 feet from the beach and is home to seabird colonies, including [...]

Flying long haul budget: what's the WestJet experience like?

I’m flying quite a bit at the moment. This year I’ve been to New Zealand, Portugal twice, France three times (Beaujolais, Alsace, Champagne), Germany, Spain, South Africa (twice), California (twice) and Canada. And, as I speak, I’m on a plane to Vancouver, from where I’ll be heading down to Seattle and Portland for some conferences [...]

Unintended and unexpected consequences

I was at a dinner last night when I heard the news.

I really wasn’t expecting the British people to vote to leave the European Union. I was shocked.

So, now: we will begin to see the unintended and unexpected consequences of leaving, which will be a difficult and perilous process.

With every big change there are unintended [...]

Elitism and accessibility

As I was waiting to board a recent flight, a group of young people in front of me were singing. Harmonising competently. Not too loudly, but for a moment it was quite beautiful. I’ve been in situations with colleagues where we’ve done some communal singing. Mostly bad and not entirely sober. But it has been [...]

Travelling again, off to Germany

About to get on a plane. The destination? Germany. A wine country that I visit all too rarely, but which I always enjoy. My most recent visit was to the Ahr Valley, and I’ll be going back there this week. And previously I did a trip round Germany’s wine regions that was great fun.

So, the [...]