Social Media Privacy Policy

The Sunday Times Wine Club operated by Direct Wines Limited (“Direct Wines”), a private company registered in England and Wales with company number 01095091. Direct Wines will be the controller of the personal data that you provide to us in connection with our social media accounts.

What categories of personal data do we collect, and how do we collect it?

When you engage with us through our social media accounts, you may provide us with:

  • your account name and social media handle;
  • any other contact details you might provide to us directly (for example, if you win one of our social media competitions, we shall ask you for your name, address and additional information to verify your age before we deliver a prize to you);
  • the content of any social media posts you share with us (including any photographs, videos or copy contained in those posts); and
  • the content of any comments you post on our social media accounts or direct messages you send to us.

We obtain all of this information from you directly.

Legal basis for collecting and processing your data.

We’ll use your personal data to:

  • re-post any messages or images you share with us via our social media accounts;
  • with your permission, re-use any messages, images or creative content you share with us (including via hashtags or tags) in our printed or online marketing materials (including emails) and credit them with your social media handle;
  • contact you via your social media account if you make an enquiry, complaint or request to one of our social media accounts;
  • to administer our social media competitions fairly and properly, and if you are a winner, to tell you that you’ve won the competition and to make any further arrangements with you, including to repost your winning entry on social media, to deliver your prize to you;
  • to improve products and services;
  • to measure your social media engagement with our brand; and
  • if you promote yourself as contactable for affiliate or social influencer marketing, contact you to explore any suitable opportunities.

The lawful bases for us processing your personal data in connection with our social media accounts are as follows:

  • Legitimate interests: This means the interests of our company in conducting and managing our business to enable us to give you the best products and services, and the best and most secure experience. In connection with our social media accounts, we rely on our legitimate interests to process your personal data:
    • to run any competition fairly and properly (including to enforce or apply our terms and conditions if necessary), to tell you if your competition entry is a winner, and, if your photo is selected to deliver your prize to you, to repost your winning entry on social media;
    • to re-post any messages or images you share with us via our social media accounts;
    • to contact you via your social media account if you make an enquiry, complaint or request to one of our social media accounts; to improve products and services;
    • to measure your social media engagement with the brand and understand the success of our marketing strategies; and
    • to contact you via your social media account to ask for permission to use content you have tagged us in.

For further information about our reliance on our legitimate interests to process your personal data, please refer to our Privacy Policy.

  • Consent: We may use and share your data with third parties when we have your consent to do so. For example, if you have agreed that we may use a photo you’ve taken in our advertising material.
  • Legal compliance: If the law requires us to, we may need to collect and process your data. For example:
    • we may pass on your details to verify your age to ensure that we only give products containing alcohol to those aged 18 or over; and
    • the CAP Code requires us (as the promoter of any competition) to either publish or make available certain information about prize winners. You can object to this information being published or made available by contacting us on 03330 142 776 or dpo@thesundaytimeswineclub.co.uk. Please note that, even if you opt out, we may still have to provide the information and winning entry to the ASA.

When do we share your personal data?

We share data with third parties that help us provide certain services to you, including in relation to information technology, product fulfilment and delivery, customer support, administration of competitions, age verification and marketing. Where you have consented to the same, we may share your data publicly (e.g., for inclusion in advertising material or on our own social media). We will only share data that is necessary to perform the relevant service.

How long do we retain your personal data for?

In relation to any posts you make on social media, you should contact the social media provider for details of their retention policy and how to delete your posts.  Where we obtain information from you directly, for example where we obtain your address details to send you a prize if you win a competition, please see the section called ‘How long do we hold your personal data for?’ in our Privacy Policy.

For further information in relation to the processing of your personal data (including your rights and processing outside of the EEA), please refer to our Privacy Policy.

If you have any questions about how we look after your personal data, you can contact us:

  • in writing, at One Waterside Drive, Arlington Business Park, Theale, Berkshire, RG7 4SW. Please mark your letter for the attention of the Data Protection Officer;
  • by email to this address: dpo@thesundaytimeswineclub.co.uk; or
  • by telephone on 03330 142 776.

What does it mean if you give us permission to use a photo or video?

We love to see our customers engaging with and enjoying The Sunday Times Wibe Club. If you’ve taken a photo or video and tagged us in some way (by using a competition hashtag etc.), we may ask for your permission to repost it or use it in our marketing materials. We have a great in-house team that put together our marketing content, but we may also send things out to external marketing agencies.

By giving us permission:

  1. You agree to grant Direct Wines and its direct or indirect licensees, assignees and agencies a royalty free, exclusive, worldwide, assignable, sub-licensable and irrevocable licence to use, publish, reproduce, edit, exhibit, project and display the photo or video for the purposes of advertising, marketing and promotional activity, in connection with promoting The Sunday Times Wine Club;
  2. You agree to waive your moral rights under section 205 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and waive any right you may have to inspect and approve any use made of the photo or video within the scope of the licence granted above;
  3. You agree to release Direct Wines from any claims for remuneration associated with the use of the photo;
  4. You warrant that you are the author and owner of all rights in the photo or video and no other person has any claim to ownership or any other legal rights in the photo;
  5. You warrant that you have full legal capacity to give permission for the photo to be used; and
  6. You warrant that you are 25 years or older.

Long-Form Terms and Conditions – Instagram Photo Competition Vintage Festival 2021

1. The promoter of the competition is The Sunday Times Wine Club operated by Direct Wines Limited, One Waterside Drive, Arlington Business Park, Theale, Berkshire, RG7 4SW (“STWC”).

2. The competition is open to all residents of the U.K. (England, Scotland, and Wales but not Northern Ireland) who have reached at least twenty five (25) years of age at the time of entry (the “Competition”). The Competition is not open to directors, officers, agents, contractors and employees of STWC, any of its affiliated or associated entities or divisions, their advertising and promotional agencies or members of the aforementioned individuals’ respective immediate families living in the same household.

3. By participating in the Competition, each participant accepts these terms and conditions of the Competition and agrees to be bound by them. The Competition is subject to all applicable laws.

4. To enter the Competition:

a. the entrant must upload a photo of themselves taking part in the Virtual Vintage Festival, or of their Virtual Vintage Festival at home set up, to their public Instagram page (as a standalone post, not a story or DM) at any time between 16:00:00 Thursday 15 April 2021 and 23:59:59 Monday 19 April 2021;

b. the post must include the caption: #VintFest21;

c. the entrant must tag @sundaytimeswineclub in the photo or caption, and follow @sundaytimeswineclub;  

d. the photo must not be in any way obscene, offensive or defamatory, and must not infringe any person’s intellectual property rights;

e. the post must remain on the entrant’s public feed for the duration of the competition, until a winner is announced;

f. the subject of the photo must be in compliance with any Government guidance relating to COVID19 restrictions; and

g. the photo must not feature any children or persons under the age of 25; 

5. Only one (1) entry per person. Multiple entries may cause you to be disqualified.

6. The entrant confirms that:

a. they are the author and owner of all rights in the photo and no other person has any claim to ownership or any other legal rights in the photo; and

b. they have full legal capacity to give permission for the photo to be used.

7. The entrant also agrees to grant STWC and its direct or indirect licensees, assignees and agencies a royalty-free, exclusive, worldwide, assignable, sub-licensable and irrevocable licence to use, publish, reproduce, edit, exhibit, project and display the photo for the purposes of advertising, marketing and promotional activity, in connection with promoting The Sunday Times Wine Club.

8. In doing so, the entrant agrees to waive their moral rights under section 205 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and to waive any right that they may have to inspect and approve any use made of the photo within the scope of licence granted under 8 above.

9. The entrant releases STWC and/or Instagram from any claims for remuneration associated with the use of the photo.

10. There will be one winner of the prize. The winner of the prize will be selected at random by no later than 30 April 2021.

11. If STWC runs the same competition (i.e. a competition with the same dates and prize) across different sites or social media platforms and the same winner is randomly selected to win more than one competition, the winner shall only be entitled to win one prize.

12. The winner of the prize will be contacted by 30 April 2021. Three attempts will be made to contact the winner of the prize. If the winner does not respond via DM (Instagram direct message) within 7 days of STWC’s first message to accept the prize, an alternative winner will be selected.

13. STWC will contact the winner via Instagram direct message and will request their details (name, age and address) for the purposes of claiming their prize only.

14. STWC will send the winner a £25 Sunday Times Wine Club e-Voucher to spend at sundaytimeswineclub.co.uk.   No refunds will be given.

15. The prize will be sent out via email, STWC cannot be held responsible for any prize not received by the winner.

16. Odds of winning the prize will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received.

17. STWC retains sole discretion to withhold the prize without liability if in its view a participant is ineligible, the entry is invalid, or a winner does not meet the necessary requirements as set out in these terms and conditions.

18. STWC reserves the right to withdraw or amend the Competition in the event of unforeseen circumstances or circumstances outside of its control.

19. You acknowledge that the Competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.

20. You acknowledge and accept that Instagram will not be responsible or liable for this Competition. 

21. STWC is not responsible or liable for:

g) Any entry for which the post or comment is lost, deleted or deemed abusive by Instagram;

h) Any accounts that are deemed to be fraudulent or not authentic;

i) Unforeseen changes in Instagram’s legal or commenting rules & regulations;

j) Any external factors that may restrict a participant from accepting their prize;

k) Any entries that cannot be found or seen by STWC; and

l) Any entries that cannot be opened or are otherwise inaccessible for any reason by STWC.

22. There is no cash alternative for the prizes.

23. If there is a dispute between you and STWC in relation to the Competition or these terms and conditions, you may take legal action against STWC, and STWC may take legal action against you in either the English courts or the local courts in the part of the UK where you live. The applicable law will be that of the location of the court.

24. The entrant must read and understand the privacy notice for this Competition at www.sundaytimeswineclub.co.uk/customer-services/privacy-policy-and-cookies. In addition, the following privacy notice also applies to the Competition:

When you enter this competition, you will provide us with your email address and the information you share in the email with STWC. If you are a winner, we will ask for your postal address so that we can deliver your prize to you, and we may ask for additional information in order to verify your age. We obtain all of this information from you directly.

We’ll use your personal data in order to run the competition fairly and properly, and if you are a winner, to tell you that you’ve won the competition and to make any further arrangements with you, including to repost your winning entry on social media, and to deliver your prize to you.  We may pass on your details to verify your age to ensure that we only give products containing alcohol to those aged 18 or over. The CAP Code also requires us (as the promoter of this competition) to either publish or make available certain information about prize winners. You can object to this information being published or made available by contacting us on 03330 148 168 or dpo@thesundaytimeswineclub.co.uk. Please note that, even if you opt out, we may still have to provide the information and winning entry to the ASA.

If your competition entry is a winner, we may share your details with the courier company we use to deliver your prize to you; the company we use to carry out age verification checks (if required); and with our core IT services providers.

Long-Form Terms and Conditions – Facebook Photo Competition Vintage Festival 2021

1.The promoter of the competition is The Sunday Times Wine Club operated by Direct Wines Limited, One Waterside Drive, Arlington Business Park, Theale, Berkshire, RG7 4SW (“STWC”).

2. The competition is open to all residents of the U.K. (England, Scotland, and Wales but not Northern Ireland) who have reached at least twenty five (25) years of age at the time of entry (the “Competition”). The Competition is not open to directors, officers, agents, contractors and employees of STWC, any of its affiliated or associated entities or divisions, their advertising and promotional agencies or members of the aforementioned individuals’ respective immediate families living in the same household.

3. By participating in the Competition, each participant accepts these terms and conditions of the Competition and agrees to be bound by them. The Competition is subject to all applicable laws.

4. To enter the Competition:

a. the entrant must take a photo of themselves taking part in the Virtual Vintage Festival, or of their Virtual Vintage Festival at home set up and upload the photo as a comment on this Facebook post https://fb.watch/4U3-f4vdKk/ at any time between 16:00:00 Thursday 15 April 2021 and 23:59:59 Monday 19 April 2021;

b. the entrant must like the Facebook post linked above; 

c. the photo must not be in any way obscene, offensive or defamatory, and must not infringe any person’s intellectual property rights;

d. the photo comment must remain on the Facebook post for the duration of the competition, until a winner is announced;

e. the subject of the photo must be in compliance with any Government guidance relating to COVID19 restrictions; and

f. the photo must not feature any children or persons under the age of 25; 

5. Only one (1) entry per person. Multiple entries may cause you to be disqualified.

6. The entrant confirms that:

 a. they are the author and owner of all rights in the photo and no other person has any claim to ownership or any other legal rights in the photo; and

b. they have full legal capacity to give permission for the photo to be used.

7. The entrant also agrees to grant STWC and its direct or indirect licensees, assignees and agencies a royalty-free, exclusive, worldwide, assignable, sub-licensable and irrevocable licence to use, publish, reproduce, edit, exhibit, project and display the photo for the purposes of advertising, marketing and promotional activity, in connection with promoting The Sunday Times Wine Club.

8. In doing so, the entrant agrees to waive their moral rights under section 205 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and to waive any right that they may have to inspect and approve any use made of the photo within the scope of licence granted under 8 above.

9. The entrant releases STWC and/or Facebook from any claims for remuneration associated with the use of the photo.

10. There will be one winner of the prize. The winner of the prize will be selected at random by no later than 30 April 2021.

11. If STWC runs the same competition (i.e. a competition with the same dates and prize) across different sites or social media platforms and the same winner is randomly selected to win more than one competition, the winner shall only be entitled to win one prize.

12. The winner of the prize will be contacted by 30 April 2021. Three attempts will be made to contact the winner of the prize. If the winner does not respond via DM (Facebook direct message) within 7 days of STWC’s first message to accept the prize, an alternative winner will be selected.

13. STWC will contact the winner via Facebook direct message and will request their details (name, age and address) for the purposes of claiming their prize only.

14. STWC will send the winner a £25 Sunday Times Wine Club e-voucher to spend at sundaytimeswineclub.co.uk.   No refunds will be given.

15. The prize will be sent out via email, STWC cannot be held responsible for any prize not received by the winner.

16. Odds of winning the prize will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received.

17. STWC retains sole discretion to withhold the prize without liability if in its view a participant is ineligible, the entry is invalid, or a winner does not meet the necessary requirements as set out in these terms and conditions.

18. STWC reserves the right to withdraw or amend the Competition in the event of unforeseen circumstances or circumstances outside of its control.

19. You acknowledge that the Competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

20. You acknowledge and accept that Facebook will not be responsible or liable for this Competition. 

21. STWC is not responsible or liable for:

g) Any entry for which the post or comment is lost, deleted or deemed abusive by Facebook;

h) Any accounts that are deemed to be fraudulent or not authentic;

i) Unforeseen changes in Facebook’s legal or commenting rules & regulations;

j) Any external factors that may restrict a participant from accepting their prize;

k) Any entries that cannot be found or seen by STWC; and

l) Any entries that cannot be opened or are otherwise inaccessible for any reason by STWC.

22. There is no cash alternative for the prizes.

23. If there is a dispute between you and STWC in relation to the Competition or these terms and conditions, you may take legal action against STWC, and STWC may take legal action against you in either the English courts or the local courts in the part of the UK where you live. The applicable law will be that of the location of the court.

24. The entrant must read and understand the privacy notice for this Competition at www.sundaytimeswineclub.co.uk/customer-services/privacy-policy-and-cookies. In addition, the following privacy notice also applies to the Competition:

When you enter this competition, you will provide us with your email address and the information you share in the email with STWC. If you are a winner, we will ask for your postal address so that we can deliver your prize to you, and we may ask for additional information in order to verify your age. We obtain all of this information from you directly.

We’ll use your personal data in order to run the competition fairly and properly, and if you are a winner, to tell you that you’ve won the competition and to make any further arrangements with you, including to repost your winning entry on social media, and to deliver your prize to you.  We may pass on your details to verify your age to ensure that we only give products containing alcohol to those aged 18 or over. The CAP Code also requires us (as the promoter of this competition) to either publish or make available certain information about prize winners. You can object to this information being published or made available by contacting us on 03330 148 168 or dpo@thesundaytimeswineclub.co.uk. Please note that, even if you opt out, we may still have to provide the information and winning entry to the ASA.

If your competition entry is a winner, we may share your details with the courier company we use to deliver your prize to you; the company we use to carry out age verification checks (if required); and with our core IT services providers.

The Côtes du Rhône’s delicious white lie

When we say Côtes du Rhône you’re probably already thinking of rich, plummy red wines. And you can certainly be forgiven for making that assumption, (reds make up 89% of the region’s wine production after all). But that doesn’t mean you should be discounting white wine made there.

Despite only accounting for 4% of the wine produced, what Côtes du Rhône whites lack in quantity, they make up for in character, charm and variety.

So, white wine lovers, forget Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, even Chardonnay … and embrace the unique delights of the Côtes du Rhône.

So what’s so appealing about the Rhône’s whites?

As is the case with the region’s reds, the whites here offer a delicious and appealing range of styles. No surprise perhaps, when you consider the length of the whole valley (over 200km), the change of topography, soil and also the climate.

From the rounded peachy and apricot fruited, sometimes floral character of southern wines which gain their juicy ripeness from the area’s Mediterranean climate, to the more refined creamy, nutty and honeysuckle-scented wines of the north; the variety of the landscape and climate means there’s plenty to discover.

There is lots of encouragement from the press too: Decanter described white Rhônes as “weighty, food-friendly whites [that] are inexpensive”, while the Guardian’s Fiona Beckett praised them for offering “a broad range of full-bodied, complex whites that won’t burn a hole in your wallet.” Journalist Rose Murray-Brown MW in the Scotsman urges us,grab what you can before Rhône whites become even more fashionable and prices start to rise.”

How does the region differ?

Grenache Blanc is one of the native grapes used in top Rhône whites

In Southeastern France, the valley starts between the granite-blessed Massif Central and the Alps in the north. Steep and narrow, as it heads towards Montélimar, Orange and the Mediterranean it gradually opens out to offer hills, then gentle undulations and plains. Soils change as well – from the granite and schist of the north to the clay-lime-marl of the south’s gentle slopes.

On this path south, the climate also changes. You start with typical inland continental – hot summers and cold winters, then gradually move into the appealing, temperate warmth of the Mediterranean – warm summers and moderate winters, accompanied by the strong Mistral wind.

Three Côte du Rhône whites to try:

Taking all that into account, it’s no surprise that the grape varieties change through the landscape as well, just like they do for its red wines. Northern vineyards champion floral and exotically flavoured Viognier, often a varietal wine (ie pure Viognier) or a blend of Roussanne and Marsanne, the two found in prized white Hermitage, Saint-Joseph and Château-Grillet.

Due to the labour intensity and expense of working these steep northern vineyards, most of the white wine output is cru or more expensive appellation wines. The most accessible Côtes du Rhône whites largely come from the south. There, winemakers promote white wines made from a delicious array of native varieties – Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier, Clairette and Bourboulenc, with small quantities of Terret Blanc and Picardin.

And what can you expect from these more southerly whites?

Broadly speaking, Côtes du Rhône Blancs are a gorgeous blend of the white grapes listed above. They have a satisfying weight and aromatic character (particularly if they include generous portions of Viognier or Clairette), with incisive, citrus-fresh minerality. These are perfect food wines, as well as being, for the most part, very appealing on their own. Largely they’ll remain fresh and unoaked, with only lees-ageing (lees are the sediment particles left after fermentation) bringing out the creamy roundness. Some will show a little oak, to lend extra toasty weight and complexity.

Côtes du Rhône whites – explore them now!

Now, more than ever, it’s a great time to discover the white wines of the Rhône – more advanced techniques have helped to produce brighter, more minerally and aromatic whites. Plus, of course, there’s an enthusiastic, new generation of winemakers taking charge, with greater knowledge and experience from all over the world. Armed with this, they bring with them new ideas and an energy to try new things.

So next time you want a wine to go with a chicken dish – chicken pie, spicy marinaded chicken with pecan rice, a creamy noodle dish or seafood, delve into the white wines of the Côtes du Rhône. You’ll find they make a perfect partner and are also appetisingly vibrant and fresh to enjoy all on their own. Cheers!

Perfect wines to enjoy with roast lamb at Easter

There is a recipe for roast lamb that Elizabeth David describes in ‘French Country Cooking.’ It’s gloriously simple involving sitting the lamb on a bed of unpeeled garlic and covering it with fresh sprigs of rosemary. You serve it with white haricot beans cooked in a little white wine. As Elizabeth David writes it’s best cooked ‘à point’ and is a standard dish of many Paris bistros. As we step into Spring and the first green shoots of the herb garden appear, thoughts naturally turn to Easter, possibly the first lunch outside and what we might be preparing in the kitchen to celebrate the Easter Weekend. For the oenophiles among us what wine to open is at the forefront of our minds.

Roast Lamb doesn’t have to be heavy, in the Larousse Gastronomique they recommend serving with quarters of lemon and bunches of watercress. The little twist of lemon will certainly have an effect on the taste of the wine you serve, it will appear a little smoother. If the weather is fine and you have decided to eat alfresco you could opt for a Beaujolais perhaps, something like the juicy red fruit of Dominique Piron would work very well. Or if you wanted something with a little more fruit, perhaps a Pinot Noir from New Zealand, I would suggest the Rapaura Springs from Marlborough.

But I tend to think something red from Bordeaux is the most agreeable partner. Pomerol, Saint Emilion, Fronsac a little further afield from the Castillon perhaps? Anything really, but I like the dry, blackcurrant and cedar infused aromatics of something from the Left Bank which I think pairs perfectly with new season lamb. If you do really want to push the boat out the 2015 Duluc de Branaire Ducru would be very fine indeed. Or you could try something a little different and head to the vineyards of Southern Bulgaria where the sumptuous 2016 Coline d’Enira is produced. This is a bold, rich, powerful red wine that needs a strongly flavoured dish to pair with it. Try it with smoky barbequed meats.

There is always a chunk or two of chocolate laying around at this time of year. It’s a little indulgent to pair it with wine but why not? Ideally you need something fortified and sweet. A tawny would be my choice, try it chilled a little while in the fridge door and then pour a small glass with a square of chocolate – heavenly!

Will Lyons

Club Vice President

The secrets to cooking with wine

With so many wines to choose from, cooking with wine can often cause confusion in the kitchen when really, it doesn’t need to be that challenging. Adding a splash of wine to a dish can really help bring out new flavours and aromas as well as keeping moisture in. With different wine styles come different flavours and qualities. We’re here with all the secrets and top tips you need to know when adding a drop of wine into your next meal. 

What happens when you cook with wine? 

When cooking with wine, the majority of alcohol actually burns off in the process. How much alcohol remains in the dish will come down to the cooking time, method used, and amount of wine being added in. Whilst a wine reduction will leave little trace of alcohol due to its slow cooking time, a flambé will have a higher alcohol content due to being cooked for a shorter period of time. Different cooking methods also come with their benefits for the dish.

Ways to cook with wine 

Wine isn’t just to add into your casserole. There are a range of methods you can use to cook with wine, each with their own qualities. 

Marinades 

Marinading meats can actually help make them really tender, with the wine’s acidity breaking down fibres in the meat. Marinading meats and vegetables assists with adding extra flavour too.

Reductions 

A wine reduction is concentrated sauce, made by thickening wine over the heat. As the wine heats up, it will start to evaporate leaving intense flavours and a thick consistency. A number of vegetables such as carrots, onions and celery can be added for a different flavour.

Deglazing 

Deglazing a pan can produce a very simple yet tasty sauce in just a few steps. After pan-frying meat or vegetables and removing to rest, add your choice of wine to the hot pan or dish. Over a moderate to high heat, stir the wine amongst the brown bits in the pan. You’ll be left with a delicious sauce to serve as it is. Alternatively, it is the perfect base for making a gravy or casserole.

Baking 

Cooking with wine is so versatile, it can be included in various baked goods too. Some luxury cakes call for a drop of champagne and fruit desserts can benefit from the use of fortified wines such as port and sherry.

It doesn’t have to be your cheapest bottle 

Just because you are cooking and not sipping from a glass, doesn’t mean you have to go for the cheapest bottle of wine. In fact some cheaper wines can often lack flavour or be too high in acidity which can actually ruin the dish rather than enhance it. If you aren’t happy to drink it, then don’t cook with it. We’re not suggesting you use your finest Châteauneuf-du-Pape … but do look to take advantage of our current wine offers to pick up something really quite delicious to include in your cooking. 

Best red wines for cooking 

Red wine is great for including in darker meat dishes. Here are our top picks …

Merlot 

This fruit forward red has low tannins so makes it a great to cook with. It goes nicely with red meat dishes and when it comes to making a sauce or reduction, is the perfect choice. 

Pinot Noir 

Pinot Noir is a silky, light wine and if the recipe calls for a lot, a pinot noir won’t overpower the other components and flavours. It’s a great choice for cooking a meaty stew or casserole and will ensure meat stays tender. Due to its light style, it also works well alongside fattier meats. 

Cabernet Sauvignon 

This full-bodied red wine is perfect for braising dishes and will play a part in helping the meat fall straight off the bone. A Cabernet Sauvignon is also a great option for deglazing. Its low sugar will prevent it from caramelising which will leave you with a delicious sauce. 

Best white wines for cooking 

Dishes that work well cooked with white wine include risotto, pasta, chicken and seafood. As a general rule, crisp, dry, unoaked whites are always a good place to start. 

Chardonnay 

A creamy, full bodied Chardonnay is often known to have a buttery taste. It comes together nicely when cooking lobster, creamy chicken dishes and pasta sauces. We would recommend avoiding using an oaked chardonnay as when cooked down this can produce bitter flavours.  

Pinot Grigio

This dry, crisp, simple wine is a popular choice when it comes to cooking with white wine and is so versatile. It is great at complimenting more delicate foods such as mussels and creamy shrimp linguine.  

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is known for its citrussy and herbaceous flavours, and that’s exactly what it brings to a dish when cooking with it. It’s a perfect addition to a creamy risotto but works just as well for a fresh, zingy marinade on chicken and fish. 

Want to learn more? 

Join Tom Kerridge and Tom Laithwaite at our Cooking with Wine event at this year’s Virtual Vintage Festival

Tom Kerridge is the extremely popular and much-loved chef patron of the two Michelin-starred The Hand & Flowers pub in Marlow, which he opened with his wife, Beth, in 2005. Tom’s winning presence and infectious laugh made him a natural for TV, his first show Proper Pub Food was an overnight success. Tom’s latest programme Saving Britain’s Pubs sees Tom set out on a mission to revive struggling pubs, investigating industry challenges and the impact of Covid-19. Tom is also a successful author of cookbooks, many of which have tied in with his TV series, his latest being The Hand & Flowers Cookbook from Bloomsbury. If that wasn’t enough, Tom has also created cookware, homeware and a range of sauces including a black garlic ketchup. 

Tom Kerridge
Tom Laithwaite

In this masterclass Tom welcomes us to Marlow. Tom is keen to bust the myth of ‘cooking wines’ and believes you should cook with the best wine you can afford. Tom will be sharing two mouth-watering recipes one made with red wine and one with white. Tom Laithwaite will also be on hand from his brother’s winery just down the road in Marlow, Harrow & Hope, to advise us on the best wines to pair with these dishes. 

Click here to find out more and book your place at our Virtual Vintage Festival running from 15-17th April 2021.

Raising a glass to the women in wine this International Women’s Day

We’re celebrating the women in wine this International Women’s Day and the spotlight is on our talented female winemakers and producers from across the globe. Find out more about the women producing a number of our top selling, quality wines.

Jo Nash, McPherson Wines

Jo joined McPherson Wines in Victoria Australia in 2011 after graduating. Since then, she has gone on to produce great value and quality tasting wines which are sold globally. She’s been awarded numerous trophies and accolades for her generous, elegantly crafted wines.

One of our most popular reds, The Full Fifteen, is a beautiful creation by Jo and assistant winemaker, Olivia Forbes. The pair have created a black red that’s velvety smooth and immensely drinkable from day one. If a creamy white wine is more to your taste, Jo is the talent behind the exotic McPherson Aquarius Marsanne Viognier.

She’s also married to a winemaker, and in their spare time they make small batch wine at home, enlisting their four children to help pick the grapes and stomp on them with their bare feet.

Sofia Barbanera, Barbanera Estate

Sofia is a bubbly, smiley, charming character, and has been full-time winemaker at the Barbanera estate since 2010. She was raised on the family property, always playing in the vineyards and the cellar, and helping her grandparents with the wine. After growing up around wine, she then went on to study viticulture and winemaking at university and after graduating, gained experience at the renowned Poliziano estate in Tuscany.

The family own two Tuscan cellars, as well as renting space in a cellar in Puglia. Sofia enjoys experimenting in her winemaking. Sangiovese is her favourite grape and is one of the three used in the carefully crafted and award winning Saracosa. We always look forward to trying her new vintage of the Super Tuscan star!

Nadia Johnson, Newton Johnson Family Vineyard

Nadia and husband Gordon are the winemaking duo at Newton Johnson Family Vineyards and between them have experience of over 30 vintages. She is from 6 generations of growers – from Robertson. Nadia read oenology and viticulture at Stellenbosch, did two years winemaking in Constantia, then joined the team at Gordon’s family winery but has also gained experience in Marlborough, Cuvaison in Napa, Sichel in Bordeaux and in Alsace. Their Chardonnay is truly exceptional!

Emma Norbiato, Westend Estate

With over 20 years’ experience in winemaking across multiple fine wine regions, Emma has been Chief Winemaker at Westend Estate since 2018 and is responsible for the much-loved Yarrunga Field Special Reserve White.

She’s been known to produce great quality and trendy wines and her winemaking skills have not gone unnoticed. In 2016 she was awarded was ‘Winemaker of the Year’ in the Australian Women in Wine Awards and was a finalist for Gourmet Travellers 2019 ‘Winemaker of the Year’.

Joana Lopes, Quinta do Casal Branco

Joanna is the fourth generation of her family who have been involved in wine and has been a winemaker at Quinta do Casal Branco since 2013. She was brought up in the Alentejo region of Portugal, in a family of vine growers. After helping as a child, her interests grew and Joana went on to study agronomy at the University of Lisbon, following it with a masters in oenology.

Now, the young and talented winemaker is behind our rich, mouthfilling Lobo e Falcão. Joana makes this red specially for us, blending Syrah with Portugal’s exciting native grapes. It’s made at a 17th century estate owned by the Lobo de Vasconcellos family, once the location of the king’s falconry.

Lorena Deaconu, The Iconic Estate

With more than 20 years of experience, Lorena Deaconu is a true master in the winemaking world. She’s chief winemaker at Romania’s Iconic Estate and makes all our current Paris Street and La Catina wines. As well as that, Lorena makes the very popular and award winning Burebista Shiraz Feteasca Neagra.

When talking to Lorena about her job, her passion for winemaking shines through like a beacon. She truly loves what she does, despite the 17-hour days during harvest and wouldn’t do anything else. “What other job lets you travel worldwide, meet new friends and interesting people. Wine is a good friend of mine.”

Nicole McPheeters

US born Nicole McPheeters has taken southwest France to her heart and is making exciting and truly authentic wines. Despite her youth, she has put in plenty of vintages all over the world, adding a bright New World touch to winemaking.

After studying in the US, Australia and Argentina, she became a ‘flying winemaker’, covering two vintages a year – one in the southern hemisphere and one in the north. And in the summer of 2018, she found herself in Fronton, working a vintage in the local co-op. When she first arrived, she spent some time in Toulouse, enjoying long, golden evenings drinking the excellent local rosé crafted with the local grape, Négrette. This inspired her to craft her own beguiling blush, Violette de Mireval.

Whilst we couldn’t give a special shoutout to all of the women in wine we have the pleasure of working alongside, we’re raising a glass to every women in the wine industry, inspiring and achieving incredible things each day!

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Choosing the best Mother’s Day gift can often be a challenging task. Flowers, perfume, chocolates, jewellery … the list goes on! Even though many of us won’t be able to celebrate with our mothers in person this year, that won’t stop us from sending them a thoughtful gift that they truly deserve … and luckily for you, we have plenty to choose from. We’ve picked out our top gifts so you can say an extra special thank you and spoil them rotten this March 14th.

For the mothers who enjoy a glass of fine fizz

Champagne really is the ultimate fizz and there’s nothing quite like popping open a bottle. For the fizz-loving mother figure in your life, these gifts will be sure to make them smile.

Mini Didier Champagne and Straws Set – £35

These 200ml bottles each come with their own straw (optional, of course) and are perfect for celebrating Mother’s Day virtually, so you can save that big bottle for when you can meet up. The Champagne itself is a double Gold-medal winning beauty, full of ripe stone fruit flavours and deliciously crisp. Plus, it’s conveniently packaged in a handy carry box.

Piper Heidsieck Rosé Champagne – with exclusive chiller wrap – £45

Champagne is a great choice of gift, so why not take it to the next level with a splash of pink. The intensely pink colour and flavours of Morello cherries and redcurrants is bound to go down a treat, especially when served chilled from the accompanying champagne sleeve.

Deutz Sakura Edition Brut Rosé Champagne – £50

Deutz has launched a stunning Sakura Edition of their Brut Rosé Champagne to mark the blossoming of the cherry trees. Anyone who has witnessed this eruption of riotous pink flowers and the joy it brings in the Land of the Rising Sun will know that it’s worthy of serious celebration. And what better way do it than with a tasty bottle of delicate pink bubbles?

For the ‘Ginthusiast’

If your mum is partial to a G&T, or any other tasty gin creation, these unique gin gifts will be perfect for her this Mother’s Day.

Berkshire Botanical Dry Gin – £19.99

This botanical dry gin is an IWSC Gold medal winner crafted in the beautiful Berkshire village of Yattendon. Distilled with hand-picked botanicals, this crisp gin makes for perfectly balanced G&T as well as a number of tasty gin cocktails, and it really comes into its own with an orange peel garnish. An excellent Mother’s Day gift, this gin has been made with heart, because Berkshire Botanical have partnered with Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust.

Windsor Great Park Gin Gift – £35.95

This is the first ever gin from our Windsor Great Park vineyard, a perfect treat for a gin fan. Crafted from surplus Chardonnay grapes plus juniper, lemon verbena, elderflower and thyme from the Savill Gardens just next door, this is an elegant, citrusy gin that will delight any G&T lover. A generous gift – if you aren’t tempted to try it yourself first!

Edinburgh Gin Cocktail Set – £75

Bring the bar to your home with this beautiful cocktail set from Edinburgh Gin. It includes a bottle of their classic London Dry style gin plus all the tools for mixing the perfect G&T (and many other delicious gin cocktails) … a mixing jug and spoon, measure and zester. Just add ice and a slice!

Something a little different

Looking for an alternative to treat your mum on Mother’s Day? These gifts certainly tick the box.

Tray of Delights – £34.99

Beautifully presented in an elegant willow tray, this superb selection of treats is a truly delicious and generous gift for those looking to spoil someone on Mother’s Day. It’s filled with cheesy bites and salted pretzels, sticky toffee oat biscuits and luxury chocolates … plus a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc to enjoy alongside!

Classic Mixed Trio Gift – £35

This unique gift is perfect for wine-loving mums out there. The elegant trio of wines include toasty Barón de Barbón (our bestselling Rioja), the fresh Luminoso Leggero Prosecco and Company Bay’s lively Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Best enjoyed simply by themselves or alongside a delicious Mother’s Day meal.

Be sure to check out our full range of gifts, perfect for all occasions.

2021 Valentine’s Day gift guide

While we may not be celebrating this Valentine’s Day in our favourite bars and restaurants, that won’t stop us making the most of this day and celebrating from the sofa. Our 2021 Valentine’s Day gift guide is here. Show your loved one how much you care with our specially selected romantic wine gifts – there’s something to put a smile on everyone’s face. With lockdown still going, some of us may not be able to see our valentine this February 14th or, we might have a ‘Galentine’ (close female friend) who needs a pick-me up. Whichever gift you choose, we’ll package it beautifully and deliver it straight to your door (or theirs), and you can include your very own personalised message too.

For Her

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but a bottle of Champagne works just as well to show you care.

Champagne, Flutes & Truffles

£59

Award-winning Champagne paired perfectly with chocolate truffles; this luxury gift will make your loved one feel extra special. You’ll also receive Dartington Crystal flutes to sip the bubbly from.

Mini Didier Champagne and Straws Set

£35

What could be more exciting than the pop of a bottle of Champagne, you ask? Well, how about the pop of four? These 200ml bottles come with their own straws too! The perfect gift for those who enjoy a glass of fizz.

Piper-Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage Champagne

£45

If Champagne is the gift of choice, then pink Champagne has to be the next level of refinement. Piper-Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage is guaranteed to please, from this well-known yet underrated Champagne house. The intensely pink colour and Morello cherry and redcurrant flavours will bring joy to the recipient, especially served well chilled from the accompanying bottle sleeve.

For Him

What do you buy the guy who has everything? We’ve got just the idea …

The Complete Book of Ports Gift Set

£50

This one’s for the Port lovers, and anyone seeking an original gift idea. The book contains 10 different tasting samples of port plus background information and tasting notes.

Rioja and Glasses Gift Set

£25

Our bestselling Rioja by far, this smart gift set includes two glasses that will enhance the oak-aged aromas and flavours, opening up its toasty and spicy notes.

Date Night

Turn off your phones, dim the lights and settle down to enjoy some quality time together. If you’re planning a romantic meal, we’ve got the perfect bottle to go with dinner, from elegant whites to full-bodied reds. If you just fancy cosying up in front of the telly, there’s nothing like a chilled bottle of pink Champagne straight from the ice bucket or tucking into a hamper full of delicious goodies.

Laurent-Perrier Rosé, Flutes and Ice Bucket

£90

Date night just reached a whole new level. This lavish set is a real treat, with one of the most famous of pink Champagnes, presented in a special gift box with two Dartington Crystal flutes and a Laurent-Perrier branded ice bucket.

Tray of Delights Hamper

£34.99

Say hello to our Tray of Delights. This neat hamper is packed with delectable treats, including cheesy bites and salted pretzels, sticky toffee oat biscuits and luxury chocolates and a zesty Sauvignon Blanc to accompany.

Classic Mixed Trio

£35

An elegant set of three to enjoy this Valentine’s Day. Our bestselling Rioja, lively Sauvignon Blanc and a fresh Prosecco. Like a three-piece suit or a sparkly cocktail dress, there’s a reason why the classics never go out of style.

You can view our full range of gifts here. We’d love to know what you’re treating your nearest and dearest to this Valentine’s Day. Be sure to tag us in your Instagram posts (@sundaytimeswineclub) to let us know!

Christmas Tips with Will Lyons

Myself and Michel Roux Jr.

The Christmas gastronomic marathon is upon us and although understandably this year will be very different we still need a glass or two for the big day. I recently caught up with one of Britain’s best loved chefs Michel Roux Jr at his renowned restaurant in Mayfair, Le Gavroche and over a glass of the club’s Didier Chopin Brut Champagne we discussed and shared our top food and wine tips for Christmas. For subscribers of The Sunday Times you can view the discussion here.

If you can’t view it, don’t worry! I have shared the answers to some of the most frequent wine questions I get asked at this time of year.

What wine goes with Christmas pudding?

Can I let you into a little secret? Although I love the theatre of serving Christmas pudding, turning off the lights, drenching it in a generous glass of warm brandy before striking a match and engulfing the pudding in a flickering swirl of blue flame, I’m not entirely sure I like Christmas pudding that much. But Christmas day is the one day of the year where you can justifiably serve a sweet wine. There are a few options. A chilled glass of tawny port can pair well and then you can keep it in your glass for the cheese afterwards. Bordeaux’s luscious sweet wine Sauternes is a classic if, like me, you’ll opt for a glass of pudding wine instead of pudding. But it’s hard to look beyond the tangy, honeyed character of Royal Tokaji which has the sweetness and acidity to revitalise jaded palates. Remember the wine should always be sweeter than the pudding.

What wine goes with roast turkey and all of the trimmings?

A classic Christmas lunch with all of the trimmings can be an absolute melee of competing flavours. As I discussed with Michel Roux jr recently for our Times event ‘Festive Feasting’ I think you have three options. You can either go classic; which is old school red Bordeaux like the club’s 2018 Barons de Rothschild Lafite Réserve Spéciale from Bordeaux in France. Or opt for the bold, ripe flavours of the Southern hemisphere such as an upfront Shiraz like the club’s 2018 Don’t Tell Gary Shiraz by McPherson Wines in Victoria, Australia. A third option, which I tend to favour, is a super smart Beaujolias, something like a Fleurie with all its silky, texture and red fruit. The Fleurie goes well with the white meat of the turkey and doesn’t overwhelm palates which are enduring quite a day of feasting.

Should I decant my wine?

At Christmas, I love the attractive, shimmering aesthetic of a cut glass decanter standing proud on the dining room table. Most wines benefit from a little air and certainly full bodied reds including red Bordeaux, wines from the Rhône, Rioja in Spain or heavy grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah will improve in the decanter. Why? The act of pouring a bottle of wine into another container will aerate the wine releasing its myriad of fruit aromas and will gently soften the texture. For a young wine, give it a vigorous decant lifting the bottle high as you pour, for an old wine, go easy, gently pouring it into the neck of the decanter.

What temperature should I serve my wine?

It may surprise some of you to learn that I recommend chilling both red and white wine, not to the same temperature obviously! It’s worth remembering that a normal domestic fridge will chill down a bottle of wine to around 5C in a few hours. For me that is too cold for wine at Christmas. Most light white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling should be served at between 5 and 9C, same for Champagne and sparkling wine. If they instinctively feel too cold and need warming up, don’t worry. Just cup your hand around the bowl of the glass and it will soon raise the temperature a few degrees. With red wine is where it gets interesting. These days most of us living in centrally heated houses and apartments and it is easy to forget that the traditional advice of serving your wine at room temperature probably meant somewhere around 12C. I would say young fruity reds such as Beaujolais, Pinot Noir and Valpolicella are best served around 11C to 15C while heavier red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and red Bordeaux, Burgundy and Shiraz around 14C to 18C. Put the back of your hand on the bottle, it should feel cool to touch. That’s the right temperature. Christmas is busy in the fridge so I tend to pop mine outside for around 20 minutes before serving.

What wine is the best for mulled wine?

Don’t waste your best bottles on mulled wine, but don’t think you can get away with pouring any old cheap plonk in the pan either. If you are using a lot of nutmeg, which I like to do, I feel the wines which work the best are fruity, smooth red wines. I’m thinking something like a Zinfandel from California or a juicy Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvèdre blend from the Southern Rhône in France.

Is English wine better than Champagne?

What we can say with confidence is that we are now entering the third phase of the great English wine boom of the 21st century. The first stage was a recognition that winemakers in England could actually make wine on these shores that is drinkable and not just a novelty. The second phase was a realisation that a handful of England’s sparkling wines, including Harrow & Hope, are competing at the very highest level. The third phase is that we are now producing still table wines made from grape varieties such as Bacchus and Pinot Noir that are beginning to get noticed internationally. It’s a hugely exciting time for the industry.

Does all wine improve with age?

In a word no. Around 90% of wine sold in Britain is made to be opened and enjoyed as soon as the screwcap has been twisted or the cork pulled. Only a very small percentage, let us for sake of clarity, define that as anything more than £15 a bottle what we might refer to as ‘fine wine,’ benefits from ageing in the bottle. It’s unwise to generalise but fine whites such as Burgundy and Riesling can age in the bottle up to 5 to 10 years or more. Good red Bordeaux, Rioja, Burgundy and Barolo, depending on the growing season, can age for between 5 and 30 years, sometimes more.

Do I have to serve my best bottle at Christmas?

I’m slightly torn on this issue. Christmas can be a stressful time, there is a lot to do, relatives to entertain, excited children scampering around and that is before you have sat down for the feast itself. Is it the perfect time to bring out that that expensive bottle you bought recently or the wine you have carefully nurtured in the cellar for many years? Some might say no, probably not. Far better to leave it there and serve it at an appropriate occasion when it can command your full attention. Relax and enjoy the day. Only, when is that occasion? I do agree with Michel Roux Jr who says if you can’t serve your special bottle on Christmas day then when can you? It is an occasion after all and I do feel this is particularly apposite this year when we all need cheering up! So perhaps, yes serve your best bottle.

What is the best wine to go with Roast Chicken?

Depends on the time of year. Roast chicken is such a comforting, easy going, crowd pleasing Sunday lunch that when it comes to the wine it’s a very amiable companion. This Sunday I paired it with an aged Barolo from Piedmont, the earthy flavour of the wine worked as a contrast to the soft texture of the meat. In the Summer I would opt for an oaky Chardonnay, it is a really hot day something like a taut Chenin Blanc from South Africa. We like to serve with mash and salad in the warmer months. For a Summer red Chianti works well. In the winter when we naturally crave a red wine I would look to a supple Merlot, a ripe red Bordeaux. For something lighter Pinot Noir, a red lighter style Burgundy such as Chambolle-Musigny but even Côtes-du-Rhône works well. It really is a bit of a free for all.

What is the best wine to go with cheese?

At Christmas, I’m a huge fan of serving tawny port with cheese. Slightly chill the tawny to around 10C and it will pair well with a variety of cheeses. There are of course some classic combinations. A sweet wine such as Sauternes or Tokaji is heavenly with blue cheese and can go well with all sorts of softer cheese and of course you have the double benefit of being able to serve them with Christmas pudding. Speaking in broad brush generalisations red wine tends to go better with harder cheese but white wine is often much more suitable as an accompaniment to cheese. A glass of chilled Sancerre with a handful of creamy goat’s cheese or event a zesty, tangy Sauvignon Blanc. My one tip is to narrow your options, don’t go for too many cheeses. One or two and road test them before the big day, you’ll have great fun too!

Will Lyons

Club Vice President