How long have you been a member of the institute?
I have been a member of the Institute since September 2009, having decided to join at the Institute’s 30th anniversary dinner at La Mon
How did you first become involved in the institute?
Other family members had joined. I had thought that the Institute was for people who were already experts, but was persuaded that NIWSI is for anyone who enjoys wine, or who wants to learn about it. I fall into both categories!
What wine region would you most like to visit?
Possibly Australia. Lovely fruity whites and big reds…
Name your top 3 recommended wines
Cristal - tasted at a NIWSI night in 2011 and fell in love with it
Creu Celta – by McAlinden y Hijos, a favourite in my family
Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon-- it’s a belter of a wine
What wine would you most like to taste?
I would love just a sip of Chateau Margaux 1983. Coincidentally, my lovely father-in-law has a bottle!
Why would you recommend the institute to new people?
Wine appreciation is cross-generational, cross-cultural and can be at any level. You don’t need to be an expert. Research has shown that children learn experientially i.e. they learn through experience; but it is the same with wine. I have learned so much already through attending Institute tastings, listening to the speakers and mixing with a variety of people from all walks of life who share the same passion for wine.
Institute tastings are educational and very individual. Some speakers are quite formal in their approach; others are much more relaxed in style; we hear from Masters of Wine, producers and retailers. Speakers usually present 9-12 wines but all are experts in their field and often give a lot of detail about the area, the effects of climatic changes on vintages and harvesting and so many other details that you just cannot read in a book.
Institute evenings are also social occasions and we have several nights in the year devoted to wine with food, the pinnacle of which is the Gourmet Dinner in March. NIWSI has been a great experience so far and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn a bit more about wine, for work or for pleasure.