Our Winchester Top 5

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Once home to King Alfred, Winchester offers an irresistible mix of food, festivals and feelgood factor – The Sunday Times When the Sunday Times announced that Winchester is the best place to live in the UK, we were among those who went “social media wild” with excitement. Yes, our beloved Venta Belgarum was named the UK’s top location for myriad reasons (e.g. low crime and great schools) and many of which evidently related to alcohol. In fact, our own little project, Winchester Cocktail Week, was cited as one of the best things about the city. High praise indeed! If you’re a subscriber to The Times, […]


The Winchester Cup 2016

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To kick-start the week’s activities, on Monday 1 February 2016, we shall be hosting a regional bartending competition, open to bars based within a 55-mile radius of the Winchester Cocktail Week Hub. This trade-only event will give shortlisted local bartenders the opportunity to compete in front of a small audience in order to win the first ever Winchester Cup for their venue as well as a prize for him/herself. Unlike other bartender competitions, this is not a test of technical skills or a drive to promote one particular drinks brand. Our main goal for the competition is to encourage a creative use […]


Hotel du Vin

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I remember my mum being invited to Hotel du Vin Winchester for a special meal by her boss almost twenty years ago. I can recall hearing about the amazing dining experience she had and about the world of ‘wine’ this place celebrated (I was drinking ‘Diamond White’ around that time. Ahem.) I wondered if I would ever set foot in this hallowed place, whether I would know which knife and fork to use and if I could ever afford a bottle of wine other than ‘House White/Red’. Little did I know that, not only would I get to live just a stone’s throw away from the hotel, […]

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English Wine – Danebury Vineyards

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Stepping into an English Vineyard always gives us a little thrill; it’s almost as if you are entering a place that shouldn’t really exist and might just disappear with a pop of a cork. English wine is thriving, confident and improving all the time, however, and is very much on the map. The huge investment and time it takes to establish quality producing vines means that English wine is here to stay; little did we know that, in our area, there are about 80 vineyards already and almost 600 right across England. Not only that, but the quality of some of these wines is […]


Dorset Dry Gin

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Back in January 2015, in what seems like a lifetime ago, I took myself along to a Local Producers’ Show, organised by Business South at the Grand Harbour hotel in Southampton. There were of course a few familiar faces there but also some new gastronomic delights we’d never come across before. Perhaps the most intriguing of these was a new gin, so hot off the press (if you’ll excuse the cumbersome metaphor) that its producer, Conker Spirit, had not yet been given the green light by Her Majesty’s bean counters to sell any. There were, however, samples aplenty and I had a brief chat with founder and […]

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Chefs’ Forum at Nyetimber

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Every now and again we get a message from someone who, thinking that we are a bar or a restaurant, tells us that they’re going to come and visit or that they’d like us to visit them. Naturally, we always explain – albeit with a subtle tone of sadness – that our Cabinet Rooms have yet to find a home. Thankfully, when the lovely people at The Chefs’ Forum learned that I didn’t have a team of kitchen staff under my wing they didn’t rescind their generous invitation to what, quite frankly, sounded like a brilliant day out! The Chefs’ Forum was set […]