Toby Rider (G2007-2012) has been in touch to tell us about a new business that he’s established, focused in particular on English wine, and offering tutored tastings, masterclasses and English wine dinners to private clients. (for more information, take a look at www.tobyrider.co.uk ).
Toby says: “The business came about after my years working in hospitality, both in restaurant management and as a private chef. The most recent restaurant I ran had the largest and most diverse English wine-list in the country and it’s always been a little niche area of the wine industry that I’ve focussed on. I work only with English wines in what I’m now doing.
I’m focussed on two things. Firstly, painting a broad picture of England as a whole in relation to the wine we produce. How each county and producer is creating vastly different wines. It’s also great introducing people to new wines for the first time! Secondly, with my background as a chef, I’m really trying to highlight the gastronomic potential of our wines and the way they interact with food. I think English wine and food pairing should be a much bigger thing than it is, and I host dinners and masterclasses in private venues, offices and client’s homes to explore this with them. I’ve chosen to work with a select few wineries that I feel best represent each county in their own unique way. I work with producers from Kent and Sussex to Hampshire and Oxfordshire – I even work with a winery just down the road from Fram, near Harleston!
I offer tutored wine tastings in private homes, as well as masterclasses and events with food. It’s certainly more an educational and experience-based offering as I don’t really sell the wines at all.
I’m finding it a really exciting segment of the wine industry at the moment, people are really starting to get behind English wines and they’re coming much more into people’s focus. It’s fantastic to show and educate people in a little more detail about their ever-evolving interest”.