Three Wine Men in Cardiff


For any company, it is always interesting venturing to new geographical areas because you are never quite sure of response.  Cardiff was one of these such places, Berry Bros. & Rudd having only ventured into the Welsh fold for tastings with our spirits business in years gone by. So the opportunity to explore the Welsh capital’s vinous preferences with Three Wine Men, a venture between Olly Smith, Tim Atkin and Oz Clarke, was one not to be missed.

A love of wine is built so much on friendliness and sociability, with most memorable wines being those you share with others. This was a great opportunity for Berrys to meet the local crowd, understand preferences, build presence and have the pleasure of showcasing products we love. It was really encouraging to see genuine interest and how many people were familiar with Berrys’ history.

In a place noted for its great love of beers, there was a fantastic response to the event. The first day was sold out, showing demand, and the buzz in the room was full-flowing. Not to mention the other 18 stands, ranging from giant suppliers to smaller outfits and one local brewery, the atmosphere around our stand was consistently electric all day. Customers’ response was of genuine interest, and the premise was education: people were keen to try whites they didn’t know or reds they thoughts they’d tried before but weren’t keen on, and the camaraderie between our staff and customers conjured many anecdotes of previous wine experiences – interesting stories were shared by all.

On Saturday, visiting our stall were a few local restaurateurs as well as young professionals keen to develop their tastebuds. Our stall was a tour de force of offerings: one sparkling, four whites, five reds, a sweet, a fortified, a spirit and a liqueur (none other than the ever-popular King’s Ginger Liqueur). Talking through flavour profiles with customers, the experienced Private Account Managers Gary Owen and Fergus Stewart were rushed off their feet!

We made friends with our neighbours – none other than ‘ultracomida’, a Dutch company with genuinely delicious cheeses (and rather too tempting to boot). Their fantastic Beaufort, a nutty, fruity, salty Gruyere-type cheese, went exceptionally well with our Albariño, and an Azul Hojas, a spectacularly strong Spanish Blue, with a sharp tang and salty notes, was exquisite with our William Pickering Port, we discovered.

The crowd was a very affable set, both customer and presenters. Welcome were other exhibitors such as Wines of Brasil, New Zealand Wine Growers, and South West France Wines to name a few, and everyone was very knowledgeable in their field.

We were especially impressed with ‘Sparking English Wine’s’ owner Tom Jones, who was representing a superbly crisp Gusborne Blanc De Blancs among others. This bore such a strong resemblance to Champagne that we almost ordered some smoked salmon to complete the experience!

We discovered an unusual Cabernet Franc EisWein from the Inniskillin Winery – herbaceous, full in the mouth and luscious.

Sunday brought an equally knowledgeable crowd: the suited and booted of Cardiff, with initiates and connoisseurs alike.  We’d quickly discovered Cardiff’s favourite wines from our smorgasbord of choice, which had been enhanced by customers’ ability to experiment with the cheeses on the nearby table. The 2009 Hiedler Riesling proved most popular with customers, who appreciated the less sweet, fruitier and fuller flavour of this Austrian offering, contrary to traditional German Rieslings.

Always a winner, Berrys’ William Pickering Port showed very well and was generously used!

The selection we’d chosen read like a start to finish of a very elaborate dinner, from our delicately-strawberry Rosé Champagne, through a crisp, light Albariño, smooth, toasty 2009 Burgundian White from Rully, a mature, smoky Bordeaux Red from Ch. Pontesac, a jammy, full-bodied Penfolds Bin 138, with its balance of Grenache Syrah and Mourvèdre embellished by the Aussie sunshine in stark contrast to the traditional GSM offering on the table, the more sedate and austere La Roquette Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

As ever The Kings Ginger Liqueur provided a warming surprise to everyone’s palate, with an overwhelmingly positive response and offers to ‘buy it now’! Sadly we were not offering items for retail at the event but of course all are available to buy on our website.

It’s the best type of event for people to really get to grips with what they like – with a plethora of different production styles, grapes, vintages, and regions being represented, it encourages you to branch out and create a memorable wine experience for yourself. Most heartening was the willingness of people to experiment.

After a long but immensely fun weekend exhibition, the train home with the Three Wine Men was very fitting, celebrating success with ultracomida’s light and floral Pyramide Fermier French goat’s cheese and Finca Allende’s spicy, damson-heavy Rioja Wine. A tiring but satisfying weekend.