Value(s) for Money
A tasting of organic Chardonnay & Pinot Noir
Friday 19th May
£22 in advance only
(places must be booked two days in advance)
Facebook: Organic Wine Norwich
What do we mean by value for money? Do we mean the cheapest? Or the one that offers a fair relationship between cost and price?
It’s easy to be swayed by the logic of cheap. Questions like ‘why pay more?’ seem to be rhetorical. But there’s a simple answer: “To get better.”
To think of ourselves solely as consumers after a satisfying product – the price promotion, so seductive in the shop, can lose its allure when we open the bottle and consume the contents.
But we are not only consumers. We are workers too, and the products we choose in consumer space shape our job opportunities. If we want to have small producers and independent shops, we have to buy their products.
We are also citizens, and we are also just one species within a vast eco system. Downward price creates a need to increase volume. There is an environmental cost to our obsession with increased agricultural yield. Fatigued soils, diminished biodiversity, decreasing wildlife, water table pollution. All these bills are being stacked up for us.
Wine is an agricultural product. Like food, wine should be something to savour, something fortifying, something nourishing. If food is a source of energy, nourishment, healing and joy, then wine is a well-earned relaxation, a source of celebration, a restorative balm to our woes, an expression of the outrageous innate fecundity of our planet. It’s not about getting more for less – it’s about the astonishing things humans can create when we work with respect for and understanding of the natural rhythms of our planet.
This isn’t a programme of premiumisation. Most of us buy our wine from a fairly small budget, and many of us have seen our wages remain static whilst our bills have gone up over the past decade. The wines at the Greenhouse aren’t a premium range. Most are priced between £8 and £20, with lots of options under £10. You can buy very little wine for under £6 these days, and once the Chancellor has taken his prodigious duty (£2.20 a bottle plus VAT), only a few pence of the £6 returns to the producer. That tax is the same for any wine, so it forms a smaller percentage of an £8 bottle – and the producer receives more. For us as consumers, is the luxury the extra £2? Or the first £6?
The wines we’ll be tasting aren’t the cheapest ones in the shop. They are wines that offer good value examples of what they are, and at prices that allow the growers to make a product, and a living, without damaging our environment.
And yet, the prices vary. Come and explore what influences the price of a wine: climate, geography, size of yield, cost of labour – and the quality aspirations of the winemaker. Varietal labelling can be a useful guide to buying wine, but there are many types of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, even within Europe. Discover which style you prefer – and how to know what it is you’re buying, before you buy it.
Our tasting evenings are unpretentious, sociable and informal, and suitable for beginners or experts. If you can’t make the evening, we will also run a potted version of this tasting between noon and 1pm on the same day. In this ‘Lunchtime Tippling with Tom’, you can taste three wines for £6, with lunch available to buy in the cafe afterwards. Email or pop into the shop to reserve your place.
The Evening’s Wines
Chardonnay ‘Finca Fabian’, Dominio de Punctum 2016
La Mancha, Spain. 13%. Shop price £8.25
Chardonnay ‘Terroir 11300’, Domaine Begude 2015
Limoux, France. 13.5%. £12.95
Chablis, Phillippe Goulley 2015
Burgundy, France. 12.5%. £16.95
Served with Chardonnay tasting plate: Biona Goats’ cheese, Godminster Brie, fennel & parsley salad
Pinot Noir, Domaine Begude 2015
Limoux, France. 13.5%. £13.75
Spätburgunder, Wilhelm Zähringer 2014
Baden, Germany. 12.5%. £17.50
Pinot Noir, ‘Diamond Fields’ Davenport 2015
Sussex, England. 12%. £19.95
Served with Pinot Noir tasting plate: spicy coriander dip, new season mange tout, garlic mushrooms
All food organic
Sourced from Folland Organics, row A Norwich Market,
& the Greenhouse shop. Bread from the Timberhill Bakery.
Menu may vary depending on seasonal availability. Vegan alternative to cheese available on request. Please advise when booking.
feedback from ‘Remember Sherry’, our most recent tasting
‘Extremely interesting and illuminating on wines I thought I knew more about than I actually did.’
‘A fabulous evening. Look forward to the next one. ‘