An inaugural three day wine festival held in Eskdale last weekend was such a success that it’s set to become an annual event and a firm fixture in the Western Lake District’s foodie calendar. The wine festival, held at the Woolpack Inn at the foot of Hardknott Pass, was the idea of owner Paddington Berger, will even be extended to four days in 2012.
Timed to coincide with the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau on the 17th November, Berkmann Wine Cellars provided a good Georges Duboef Beaujolais Nouveau to welcome visitors. However, the Woolpack wine festival went far further, celebrating over 60 different wines which were all available to taste by the glass over the weekend.
Over 100 people visited the festival and over 50 bottles of wine were drunk during the event. Many visitors used the festival as a fantastic opportunity to buy wines for Christmas, while others simply tried something different, such as an ‘enjoyable’ chocolate wine from the Co-op.
Wines were supplied by Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Booths, the Co-op, Majestic, Laithwaites, Marks & Spencer, Hardknott Wine Shop (at the Woolpack Inn, Berkmann Wine Cellars and Windermere Wine Stores. Jo Harris from Windermere Wine Stores kicked off the festival activities with a fantastic talk about wine, which greatly improved the knowledge of the audience, and Majestic Wines from Carlisle discussed ideal wine choices for Christmas.
Paddington Berger, from the Woolpack Inn, said: “The response to the first Woolpack Wine Festival has been amazing. The large numbers of visitors and their positive comments has convinced us that there’s a demand for an annual wine festival in the Eskdale valley. Everyone really valued the chance to taste such a large selection of wines, and I’d like to thank all the suppliers who were really generous in sharing their knowledge, and particularly Windermere Wine Stores, Majestic, Berkmann Wine Cellars, Booths and the Co-op for their extra support.”
The festival closed with a fabulous seven course celebration dinner on Saturday evening. The ‘Wine and Dine’ menu was specially prepared by local chef Tim Brown using locally sourced produce but with a flavour from his creative culinary experiences in Africa and the Far East. Obviously wines were chosen to perfectly complement each of his dishes.
Plans are already underway for the 2012 festival which again will be timed to coincide with the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau, traditionally the third Thursday of November. The programme will follow this year’s popular activities, including a night with the wine makers, a fine wine evening, a wine and food focused session and gourmet dinner, but new for 2012 will be a charity auction of any un-opened bottles on the final evening.
With another 4 days celebrating over 60 wines served by the glass it might be an idea to book your accommodation in the Eskdale valley nice and early.