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The September Hot List

Our pick of the top wine-related things to see and do during the month of September

Celebrate 40 years of Sharpham Wine and Cheese

To mark it 40th anniversary, the multi award-winning Sharpham Wine and Cheese is inviting members of the public to join the celebrations with two special birthday events.

Four decades ago Maurice Ash brought his herd of Jersey cows down from Essex to the Sharpham Estate in Devon and set to work crafting his first creamy, bloomy-rinded brie. He then planted the first vineyard overlooking the River Dart in a bid to produce wine. With humble beginnings, Ash unknowingly established Sharpham’s globally-acclaimed cheese and wine businesses. 

To celebrate the estate is hosting a celebratory five-course birthday meal on September 9th but if you can’t make it to Devon Tom Wedgery from Sharpham Wine and Greg from Sharpham Dairy will be hosting a virtual wine and cheese tasting event. Tickets cost £84 and include a wine and cheese tasting box for four including Sharpham chutneys and Peters Yard crackers and a bottle of Sharpham Pinot Noir.

Subscribe to Majestic’s new Wine Club   

The subscription market has boomed over the last year in the UK amid Covid-19 and it is predicted will be worth over £1 billion in 2022 according to a Royal Mail report and forecast to grow 11.5 per cent per annum for the next 3 to 5 years.

Majestic Wine has recently revealed details of its new subscription model, Wine Club by Majestic. Members will get a chance to meet winemakers and access in-depth content such as educational materials, video tastings and food recipes.

Each quarterly selection will be themed around a key grape, region or style with wines hand-picked by Majestic’s Buying Team and Masters of Wine, delivered direct to customers doors.

Each exclusive case is only available through the club and not for sale online or in Majestic shops. The first limited release box is available now and is priced at £98 for 12 bottles.

Shop and eat local at Macknade’s new Tunbridge Wells restaurant  

Hoopers department store is a bit of an institution in Tunbridge Wells and now another Kent institution is landing in the town with the arrival of Macknade. From September 14, shoppers can take a break from retail therapy a refuel with a stop at the department store’s new Macknade restaurant.

Occupying a 4,000 sq ft area on the third floor of the store, the relaxed dining space caters for approximately 100 covers and offers a menu of seasonal produce made from ingredients sourced by Kent producers Macknade is famous for championing, alongside an extensive English wine list.

Parmigiana Bites and Miniature Choripan were just a few of the delights we sampled at the launch party, washed down with a glass of Hush Heath Balfour Leslie’s Reserve. The restaurant, the third Macknade outlet in Kent (there is also a food hall in Faversham and restaurant deli in Ashford) also sells a host of locally produced wines, beers and ciders, as well as chutneys, dressings, chocolates and coffees, so event if you don’t have time to stop, you can grab something local to take home with you.

Try a vertical wine tasting

For those not in the know a vertical wine tasting is a tasting which features wines from different vintages, enabling you to taste, compare and contrast the different aspects which make individual vintages so unique.

To celebrate the Sussex Modern presents week, Bluebell Vineyard in Furners Green is hosting  
a special Vertical Wine Tasting Evening on September 18 and will showcasing nine of the vineyard’s Hindleap roses from seven different vintages – starting in 2009 and finishing in 2016 – as well astwo extended aged wines.

Head winemakerKevin Sutherland will talk through the wines at the estate’s new event space overlooking the vines as guests enjoy seasonal canapes and live music. Tickets cost £75 per person.

Join the box wine revolution

What began as a cheap container for wines in the mid-1960s has become a reason for celebration. While early box wines got a bad rap, thanks to inexpensive packaging and cheaply made wines, the box wines of today have come on in leaps and bounds. In 2020 box wine sales were up over 30% and there’s even a day dedicated to it – International Box Wine Day on September 9.  

Box wines not only stay fresher for longer (an opened box wine can last four to six weeks because the container is self-sealing) but are also the eco-friendliest of all wine packaging and have lower shipping costs.

Our favourites include Laylo for its pretty packaging (you’ll want to keep these on display long after the wine has gone), NICE for its modern branding and free sunglasses with every order and The BIB Wine Co because it stocks English wine in a box.