Our Croatian wine loving pals and experts (see sister site Croatia Online - Gold Medal Winning Wines) may well be drowning their sorrows in a swift glass of rakija (grapa) or two when they read this posting. Not only did we experience the quality of Suffolk’s wines today, but it was also suggested to us that grapeseed oil might be more healthy than olive oil. That’s something we will need to sound out our Croatian friends on as, during the whole of our eight years on the Dalmatian Coast, Croatia’s best olive oil was feted as the nearest thing to the fountain of youth available to mankind! See Croatia Online - Solta The Island Of Olives for more information. Whether or not Croatia simply prefers to process its pips into fiery rakija rather than oil is something to be discovered.
That’s not all we learnt during a fascinating day out at Shawsgate Vineyard and Winery, thanks to cashing in a birthday present “experience voucher”. These Experience Days run from May until the end of August and start with a gentle introduction followed by a trip around the vineyards and then the winery, culminating in a tasting session and a delicious lunch.
Run by a charming father and son team, a pair of pros if ever there was one, you’ll learn about the whole process of making wine and what makes for a good and bad one. The Shawsgate Winery concentrates on quality rather than quantity and with taxes, duty etc making up nearly the first £4 of any bottle of wine sold in the UK that seems a sensible choice. We tasted some very different and very delicious wines made from grapes that are “squeezed” at less than 2 bars pressure so as not to harm the delicate components that lend the distinctive and superior taste.
Some other great snippets:
1. The highly sophisticated German made pressing machine has every form of technology except something that indicates when the grape juice tray is full. For that Shawsgate use fluid level indicators, normally a favourite of the blind, that vibrate when the liquid reaches the indicator.
2. The rows of vines run from east to west and if you walk between them, you will notice an increase in temperature.
3. There is a science to everything, from the best way to train the vines, through sterilising and cleaning the equipment, to bottling and the stoppers that go in the bottles.
Rather than divulge more of the secrets, have a look at the Shawsgate website and maybe taste some of it yourself. For those that want to debate the pros and cons of the health giving qualities of olive oil and grapeseed oil have a look at Ehow and the following You Tube link which may offer a bit more than you were looking for!