There are many ways to spend Christmas Day, we will all have our own traditions and ways of doing things and our own personal guilty pleasures, but most of all it is a time to hopefully take a collective deep breath and enjoy great food, wine, spirits and friends and family. In the first of our festive Q&As we ask Richard Ellison, founder of Wanderlust Wine, to share what he will be up to on Christmas Day, and some of his own personal festive favourites, which means spending time with an alternative Royal family.
What are you most looking forward to doing this Christmas? Have a favourite film that you only dust off at this time of year? Let’s raise a glass to Richard Ellison, founder of Wanderlust Wine, who shares his Christmas moments and looks back on an eventful year.
What are you up to this Christmas?
Whilst our South Africa producers insisted a braai in the Cape sun would get me out there for a holiday, I’ll be with family near Liverpool – in general Scouse stereotype, fighting over the table for food and booze with loved ones.
What will you be eating on Christmas day?
A large turkey crown. As an ex-chef and food technologist, this is my tip for the best and juiciest way to enjoy turkey without the risk.
Had chance to plan what you will be drinking?
Of course! Our family hold the old tradition of what our grandparents drank and have a few in the pub before a late lunch – that is a ‘brown and mild’ – pale ale and Manns Brown Ale mixed together. Every year I question why, but maybe the old fashion will come back around!
Wine wise, it’s a chance to reflect on what you love in busy and quiet times. 2018 will be rounded off with Kikelet Harslevelu (dry) Tokaji, Baxter Anderson Valley Pinot Noir and some Vin de Constance.
What would be your ultimate dream Christmas
* Place – The Lake District.
* People to spend it with – Keith Floyd (see video above of Keith Floyd cooking on a trawler like only he could), Dick Grace (Napa philanthropist), Jeff Buckley, Paul McCartney and Oz Clarke.
* What you are eating – Piedmontese tajarin pasta with fresh white truffle, British turkey, British cheeses.
* What you are drinking – grower vintage Champagne, Côte Rôtie, Ridge Montebello and vintage port.
Favourite Christmas related film
It’s a Wonderful Life – a reminder of our choices, frustrations, the things we have around us and the treadmill of life speeding up each year.
Favourite Christmas song
The Pogues, of course!
What Christmas song would you happily never hear again…
That awful Christmas song Sia released a year ago – way to ruin a great start to a career!
Any classic old Christmas TV favourites from the past
The BBC’s Royle Family Christmas Special – never a fonder moment and memory to relate to than your old nan ‘only having a small sherry’ 17 times over and the paradox of quirky family oddities.
How has 2018 been for you overall?
I’m not going to lie, 2018 has felt like a slog. Whilst 2017 was a year of graft and to prove our technology driven business model, 2018 tested those boundaries while we grew. Both channels of consumer and on-trade performed strongly. We seem to be particularly recognised for:
(1) our ‘re-emerging’ regions such as Hungary and Romania that are now getting the airtime they deserve and…
(2) producers in our portfolio from established wine growing regions that people want. For example Olivers Taranga in MacLaren Vale that (rightly so) made the Langtons Classification this year for the first time.
We have also expanded our English range: we were selected to be a distributor of Nyetimber and took on a producer called Furnace Projects in Herefordshire, led by overall creative mastermind, Beth Derbyshire.
Taking home awards at both the IWC and Decanter Retailer Awards – a huge testament that we are doing the right things and to keep striving for the next milestone. I constantly remind the team how incredibly lucky we are to be working with some of the top restaurants in the UK, whilst importing exceptional product made by exceptional, passionate people.
It would still be the single contributing factor of wine prices being too high in the UK – GBP being weak due to economic uncertainty. An an ex-banker I still maintain my old ties with the ‘what-ifs’ and a recent debate I went to cast an accurate focus to the UK’s situation – “the UK economy has never seen or experienced such low interest rates in a stagnant economic environment. So in reality, we have little evidence to base when a recession will come, if it does arrive sometime soon”. Let’s hope whatever happens with this EU mess restores confidence in the great British Pound and we can get back to bringing great wine in, at better value.
Hopes for 2019…