Tempering the temperance: New Year’s resolutions


The tempting shelves of our Warehouse Shop

The tempting shelves of our Warehouse Shop

The New Year needn’t mean self-denial. Caroline Richardson – Wine Advisor in our Warehouse Shop – explains why abstinence isn’t necessarily the answer, offering her alternative resolutions that allow a guilt-free start to the year

Now that the festive period is over, things have calmed down in the Warehouse Shop. We have had a thorough tidy up, ordered through fresh stock and, in the quieter moments, contemplated our New Year’s resolutions. None of us has opted for a dry January – we work in a wine shop after all! – but I do have two wine-related resolutions: first have a thorough stocktake of my wine rack at home; and second, resolve not to “impulse buy” despite the daily temptations.

My wine rack (wedged in the empty fireplace in the front room) is not a vast private reserve of enviable vintages. It is a mismatch of gifts from friends, bottles bought on holiday and spontaneous purchases. I have decided that I really need to work through the existing collection before adding to it further.

Everyone dismisses wine bought on holiday as thoroughly disappointing when drunk back in Blighty. But just because the balmy air and the breath-taking view across Dubrovnik’s Old Town is not easy to recreate in Basingstoke, don’t be too quick to relegate those bottles to the cooking pot. We have customers in the Warehouse Shop who are total converts to – for example – our range of Greek wines, because they realise they do taste just as good as they remembered. So if you have a bottle of Bierzo or Madiran that’s been sulking behind the Good Ordinary Claret since you landed at Heathrow, open it and give it a whirl – you may be pleasantly surprised. (You can even get your holiday snaps out at the same time; there are much worse ways to spend a cold, dark evening in January!)

My second resolution not to impulse buy comes less from a desire to exercise restraint and more from a desire to add some structure to my wine appreciation. I am all too quickly tempted by something new that has landed on the shop’s shelves, but I now resolve only to buy a bottle of wine when I know when I shall drink it and what I plan to drink it with. This does mean working back from the wine to find a food match, but if I have my eye on a cheeky new Valpolicella then it’s just as much fun researching the perfect food accompaniment and turning the whole purchase into a well-deserved weekend treat.

My favourite kind of customers who come into the Warehouse Shop are those who say “I want to try something different” – because you don’t know what you like until you try it. Use this January to try a wine you have never drunk before – or maybe never even heard of before. It may be the start of a beautiful friendship.

I have never been a fan of abstinent New Year’s resolutions; surely it is just as good for the soul to seek new experiences and expand your knowledge? It’s educational, after all, and who can argue with that.

If you’re interested in trying something different, we wholeheartedly recommending dropping into either of our shops, in Basingstoke or London.