The Big Red Wine Company

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Useful Links

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The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) was founded in 1969 to provide high quality education and training in wines and spirits.  Since then, WSET has grown into the foremost international body in the field of wines and spirits education, with a suite of sought-after qualifications both for the professional and wine enthusiast.




Archers of Norwich produce simply the best sausages as well as superb beef and lamb. The pork is locally produced and carries enough fat to give it flavour and succulence. The farm assured beef is bought "on the hoof" from J Temple & Son of Wells, North Norfolk and is hung for up to four weeks to get the best texture and flavour. The lambs, which are reared on a farm in Lincolnshire, are also farm assured.


The Olive Boffin is the place to go for distinctive specialist oils and balsamic vinegar. An excellent range of oils and expert advice.





The most spectacular place on earth? Venasque is an utterly charming medieval village perched on a rock overlooking Mont Ventoux in the Southern Rhône. It is the reason I got into wine: with the beautiful scenery of the Luberon to the south and the picture-postcard wine villages to the north, the possibility of skiing on Christmas Day and anything (and everything) you could want from a relaxing break... just don't spoil it for me when you do discover it! Click here for more details.

Auberge du Vin is run by old friends from London, Linda Field and Chris Hunt. Linda trained as a WSET teacher before she headed south to Mazan in the Southern Rhône where she and Chris offer accommodation in a converted French farmhouse surrounded by vineyards in the Provençal countryside at the base of Mont Ventoux, helping guests explore the wines of the Rhône Valley together with its picturesque hillside villages



Invest Drinks is Jim Budd's highly acclaimed site (winner of the Prix Champagne Lanson 2001 Ivory Award) dedicated to showing the dangers of drinks investment and, in particular, to pointing out the dodgy deals. Very useful if you are thinking about investing in wine!


Magazines, blogs and other useful stuff

Decanter is the UK's biggest (in terms of circulation) wine magazine, Decanter. The magazine itself offers features on regions, estates, wine personalities etc as well as reviews of themed tastings. The new web-site purports to offer much more, including the Bordeaux Index of auction prices of over 250 top wines. This enables you to compare the growth in value of your own wines (assuming your cellar overlaps with Decanter's listings). The subscription charges are quite high and, unless you are a serious investor, we would not recommend subscribing to this service (£160 for 12 months of UK auction data; £240 for UK and US data). 

Drink Rhône is the online presence of the UK's leading Rhône commentator, John Livingstone-Learmonth. Free overviews of recent vintages but subscription required to see reviews of specific wines. Useful information about local goings on, places to eat and stay etc.

Elitist Review is Davy Strange's wine and food blog - a good read! 

Fine Wine Diary comes across as a more extensive version of my blog - that is to say it is tasting notes organised by date of tasting. A little difficult to find what you are looking for but some useful (and interesting) reviews.

Vinous has become the USA's most respected wine subscription website with many of its writers learning the ropes under Robert Parker but now with more freedom under Antonio Galloni.

IW 1 - 1883 BytesA useful wine resources site with some fun stuff too including a wine quiz which goes from being impossibly easy to infuriating.

The most highly respected wine journalist this side of the Atlantic?


Matching Food & Wine seems like a good idea and Decanter columnist Fiona Beckett has the extremely enviable task of trying to come up with perfect answers. There is a subscription side to things but the free stuff is quite useful on its own.

The Wine Advocate is Robert Parker's bi-monthly review of wines. For around £50 per year you can receive six copies (see, each issue containing over 50 pages of reviews listed alphabetically within their category. All wines are tasted blind either by Parker or by his associate, Pierre-Antoine Rovani, and scored, according to fairly strict criteria out of 100. Parker periodically produces books which are essentially compendiums of his magazine but it is essential to ensure that these have been recently compiled if you are using them to assist your purchases.

Wine Anorak is London-based Jamie Goode's excellent on-line wine magazine.

Wine Directory does just what it says - very useful!

Wine Doctor - independent fine wine tasting, recommendations and advice from Chris Kissack.

Wine Pages is Tom Cannavan's extensive and informative on-line magazine with articles, polls, discussions etc - certainly the UK's main wine forum for anyone wanting a chat. Easy to spend a lot of time here! 

Winesearcher is probably one of the most useful tools on the web - but only if you are prepared to pay the small subscription (around £15 a year). Type in the name of the wine you want to buy and it gives you a list of who stocks it in whichever country you want to buy it. The free version only lists "sponsors" - companies that pay them around £3,000 a year - whereas the "Pro" version includes all the little guys like me. Believe me, you can save the subscription twice over on your first purchase.

Wine Spectator is Parker's main rival in the States and another extremely influential publication. In format, it is more similar to UK magazines Wine and Decanter but with an inevitably more American perspective. Wines are tasted blind by a small panel of the magazines editors and wines scoring less than 70 (out of 100) are re-tasted. Reviews are included in the "Buying Guide" section which lists wines in descending order according to their ratings. One particularly good thing about Wine Spectator (unlike any of its competitors) is that all wines tasted are reviewed so readers can discover which wines to avoid as well as those to seek out. Magazine subscriptions apply.


Restaurants etc

Tudor Farmhouse Hotel in the Forest of Dean is a converted 13th century farmhouse in a very picturesque setting with a two AA rosette restaurant.

The Waffle House is a great place for a quick lunch in Norwich's city centre. Bustling with shoppers, this is the place in Norwich for extremely high quality (almost exclusively organic ingredients) food and a glass of straight-talking wine. Enthusiastic and friendly staff go a long way to making this a fun place to grab a bite. Good in the evenings too!



Other links

John Kiki and Bruer Tidman are two Great Yarmouth-based artists we rather like - lots of fun here.

RA Gardens is highly recommended although it probably helps if you live in my part of the country. Rob works to an impressively high level, listens to Radio 4 (on the rare occasions he listens to anything) and even brings his own coffee. He transformed an ugly area of cracked concrete outside our house into a beautiful paved terrace with pergola and brick raised beds - and a brick oven. Everything was done intelligently and sympathetically and (don't tell Rob) far too cheaply for what it was.

You must be aged 18 or over to purchase wine.
© The Big Red Wine Company, Barton Coach House, The Street, Barton Mills, Suffolk IP28 6AA, UK. Tel +44 (0) 1638 510803

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