Changing the way people drink wine here in the UK is an exciting challenge and one that we accept wholeheartedly. If you’re a like-minded soul who shares our passion for great Italian craft wine that defies taste expectations – and want to keep track of the boxed wine revolution via – you can also sign up to receive our monthly news round-ups.
UPCOMING EVENTS – Come and say hello and enjoy a tipple with us at:
Vinotopia Summer Tasting, Tetbury – 6th July, Friday
Brighton Waitrose – 2nd & 3rd August, Thursday & Friday
Oxford Wine Festival – 7th & 8th Sept, Friday & Saturday
Red Cross Call My Bluff, Saddler’s Hall, London – 5th October, Friday
Festival of Wine, London – 13th October, Saturday
Festival of Wine, Edinburgh – 3rd November, Saturday
October has been a MASSIVE month for WiR and the #boxwinerevolution as we launched in 224 Waitrose stores across the UK.
Our mission is to change the way people enjoy wine and smash peoples’ misconceptions about wine boxes, so we couldn’t have hoped for a better partner. It’s been a HUGE amount of work and I’d like to thank all of the team for their skills and dedication to have made it all happen.
We also must thank all of you, our customers, for your support of our business to this point. We needed your encouraging remarks and we’d long ago have gone bankrupt without you buying our wine!
To make it even easier for you, use our stockists page to see where you can find our range of Italian craft wines now and if you don’t live near a stockist, you can always buy directly from Waitrose Cellar.
Grazie a tutti! #thinkinsidethebox
It’s #pinotgrigioweek at When in Rome. But, just for clarity, it’s not Pinot Grigio Week anywhere else, just at When in Rome.
Why do we feel the need to celebrate? Well, remember the good old days when British politicians were sensible and competent, but a bit dull and bland? For better or worse, nobody claims that any more, but Pinot Grigio, on the other hand, still suffers from a similar reputation – partially deserved – in the UK as a pale, characterless wine. And we want to change that!
Whilst it’s true that Italy exports more Pinot Grigio to the US than it actually produces, and also that the grape, originally from France, has to be picked earlier in Italy’s warmer climes – and is therefore at risk of losing flavour – if you know where to look, you can find some fabulous Pinots in Italy.
And, at the risk of blowing our own producers’ trumpets, we know where to look. Our Pinot Grigio is spritzy and crisp with distinct notes of apple and pear and all the acidity you’d expect from its early harvested grapes. Thoroughly drinkable at any time, spectacular as an aperitif and also great value because it comes in a box. At When in Rome, you really can have your Pinot and drink it.
With a bit of historical license, you could argue that neither the UK nor Italy would exist without Dolcetto. Our own Queen Anne, during whose reign the Act of Union that created the UK was signed, was a huge fan of Dolcetto from Ovada. Perhaps, without her favourite tipple, she’d never have had the patience to sit through the four months of bilateral negotiations that lead to the Treaty’s signature (David Davis take note!). 140 years later, in Italy, Austrian-imposed tariffs on Piedmontese wines like Dolcetto provoked the province to declare the war against Austria that ultimately led to Italian Unification.
Nothing guarantees peace like unification, just as nothing guarantees a great evening like a fabulous box of wine. Like our Dolcetto, for example, which is an easy–drinking, dry red with a texture as smooth as a bambino’s bottom. Full of young fruit and almond notes, with a pleasantly bitter aftertaste, it pairs perfectly with antipasti, meat sauces and roasted poultry.
Our Dolcetto is produced by Gabriele Gaggino, whose vineyard is set in the stunningly beautiful Monferrato hills of Piedmont, just outside Ovada, and was founded back in the early 1920’s by his great-grandfather, Tommaso. Gabriele is uncharacteristically modest for a Piedmontese wine-maker, though no less passionate for it. He’ll talk you to death about his production techniques, and loves chatting about tractors too (don’t get him started on innovative gear mechanisms). He’s also the first to admit that, while his wines are probably the best in the region, there are many other great winemakers in Piedmont. Truly a man of peace, just like his Dolcetto.
This wine will be available exclusively to our Glitterati subscribers from Tuesday 22nd August. Discover more and sign up here
On a good day, Italians call their country “Il bel paese”, the beautiful country – so named for its mild climate, unique cultural heritage and beautiful landscape. On a bad day, they might call it something much less poetic, and that will often be thanks to one of two things: taxes and bureaucracy.
For the wine industry, it’s rarely the former. In fact – unlike the UK, where Her Majesty’s Government takes £2.88 per litre just for the privilege of allowing wine to pass Dover – there is no tax on wine in Italy at all. But whilst New World wine makers can make whatever they want, wherever they want and sell it in whatever container they like, what goes on in Italy’s 900,000 vineyards is subject to strict legal norms known as Disciplinari di Produzione.
At When in Rome, we often get asked why our wines have one grape name on the tasting card and another name on the box, at least when the wine first arrives in the UK. It’s thanks to the Disciplinari. For example, a Barbera or a Verdicchio might be made from the right grape, in the right region and by the right winemaker, but if it’s sold in the “wrong” container, it can’t be called Barbera or Verdicchio, just red or white wine. At least not until we’ve had a chance to persuade the local bureaucrats that our new fangled boxes are, in fact, a really sensible way to transport and sell their wonderful local wines.
Like everything in Italy, the idea of rules governing wine production is as old as the vine-covered hills. Under the Romans in 154 BC, growing grapes beyond the Alps was made illegal, forcing the poor, thirsty inhabitants of Gaul to send ever more slaves to Rome in exchange for wine. The modern rules in Italy that make it so hard to call box wine by the right names date from 1963, and – infuriating as it may occasionally be for a company like When in Rome trying to change things – they’ve done a very good job in protecting the public and improving the industry.
So for now, at least as far as Italian bureaucracy is concerned, it’s box wine evolution rather than revolution thanks to the Disciplinari. Having less rules, we don’t really have a word for Disciplinari in English. But then again, in Italian they don’t have a word for hangover, so who’s smarter than who?