A Taste of
The Vinorium

Issue: 22 / Sunday 29 April, 2018


Written by Stuart McCloskey

John, a student of Goodwin Academy School in Deal, Kent kept falling asleep throughout lessons, which raised both frustration and concerns with his teachers and the senior leadership team. John is well-mannered, pleasant, a little scruffy but a proud young man and found the experience of sharing his problems with the school difficult, as many do. John’s mother is incredibly hard working, in fact she works several jobs as she is the only source of income, which places strains onto John and his two younger siblings. Life for them all is tough, much harder than many imagine, let alone understand. John’s mother survives on very little and will often will go without meals and the simplest of essentials purely to provide for her children. It is a constant struggle as she must juggle her family’s very existence from providing a roof over their heads, to food and warmth. Her love is unconditional, costs nothing to provide and her children suffer no hardship in this quarter. However, she has been unable to provide adequate warmth for her children.

John explained that the cold winter has been hard for them as they have been unable to afford heating in their small flat, with the long nights being the hardest. John and his mother struggle to sleep as they are cold. The youngsters are wrapped-up tight in all available bedding whereas John and his mother sleep in their clothes and coats as their priority is to keep the young ones warm. The classroom provides comfort and warmth and John inevitably turns to deep sleeps instead of learning. Of course, the teachers of Goodwin Academy rallied and provided sacks full of bed linen, which now provide night time warmth for the whole family. 

I sat for several hours with Ann-Marie, the Vice Principal of Goodwin Academy School and she spoke openly about the children at her school. She cares deeply, and I cannot imagine how she wrestles with her emotions as some of the situations are difficult to accept. I was overwhelmed with sadness and cannot sit back without attempting to make a difference, which I have every intention of achieving.  Sadly, John is not alone as the Thanet and Dover areas have two of the highest rates of child poverty in Kent and the south east, with around 17,200 children affected.

As much as we would love to help each and every child, sadly we cannot however, we can make a difference to the children at Goodwin Academy. We have taken on a greater role and hope to support every child, not just those who are struggling financially, those in foster care or children from broken homes as I have learnt that children outside of these brackets often miss-out as much of the remedial support work, day trips and additional finances are not made available to them.    

Of course, schools are no different to the NHS and they must juggle their budgets diligently with an understandable emphasis towards those most in need, which of course is the correct way to direct their funds. The Vinorium Foundation is centred around providing an equal opportunity for every child (regardless of their background). It has taken time and much deliberation to find our start point, which emphasises each child’s attendance and their behaviour towards their fellow students.  

Statistically, those students from less fortunate backgrounds at Goodwin Academy are less likely to attend school on a regular basis, which of course creates untold damage for their future. This is further compounded by a lower academic ability as they are simply missing too many classes. In turn, this creates profound issues with regards to their self-esteem and confidence, which often manifests itself as verbally aggressive behaviour during difficult lessons - A cyclic problem which must be broken down with every child understanding the importance of regular attendance coupled with respectful behaviour.

The Vinorium Foundation has presented each child with the opportunity to earn a gift voucher of £50.00 upon 100% attendance combined with good behaviour. 

Those children sitting between 98-99% will receive a gift voucher for £30.00 and children sitting above 97% will receive a £10.00 gift voucher. The Vinorium Foundation will fund all prizes. A special awards ceremony will be organised as we believe that each and every child should receive their gifts in front of their fellow students to huge claps and cheers. How wonderful for them all and something I am already looking forward to.

The school has prepared a leader board for all year groups with the names of students and their respective percentage attendance posted weekly. This is a league table system (visible for all to see in the school hall) which has already created lots of excitement and healthy competition. It is important to add that we have built-in caveats regarding missed days. Family bereavements and important hospital appointments only. Sick days are not included as we all played hooky, and this is a difficult one to judge!

In addition, we have invested £1000.00 and created a stationery shop. Every item within the shop will be on a tariff, which is already worked out and has been checked for 'value' and 'fairness' with the students. The school has a spreadsheet ready to go which allows merits to accumulate, and which will also register exchanges for the stationery, so that every student's tally is automatically updated. Sixth form students will operate the stationery shop as part of their service to the school and it is to be housed in the library, encouraging greater use and familiarity for students who may not go there regularly already. This has already had spin-off benefits before we sell anything - student voice and sixth form community service.

Students will be able to exchange merits for quality items (very important) including calculators, notebooks and larger items, not just rulers, pens, pencils and erasers. Some will have the schools logo on, developing the schools identity. Students see something tangible for their efforts and can even 'save up' if they see something they would like. The plan is to allocate a lunchtime to each year group, until students become familiar with the shop.

The school expect students to bring their own equipment, but when speaking to some students, we learn that they do not live surrounded by ball point pens and other stationery in the way that we might. Pens are not disposable and easily replaced, far from it. The school shop will provide a supply route, and also develop more of a sense of ownership and pride, as items are exchanged for merit rewards.

A few words from Ann-Marie, the Vice Principal “Everyone at Goodwin Academy has the wellbeing and success of its young people at the heart of everything they do, day in, day out. Challenges faced by many students are hard-hitting and long-lasting in their detrimental effects, especially when due to family circumstances. Education should become the route to a better life with options and choices that we take for granted. Yet all too often, these barriers appear to become insurmountable and the young person becomes another statistic of what might have been, had their potential been fully realised. 

Working with The Vinorium Foundation allows us to be that much more creative in how we tackle this; it allows us to demonstrate what is possible and reward those children that dare to dream with us and who put the steps into action to fulfil those dreams. In short, it brings hope of a kind that is rarely found in schools, because it focuses on qualities and attributes that everyone can develop, which will be of life-long use. Additionally, it takes account of the community, providing a means to develop relationships and to promote the benefits of working hard, with purpose and with courage.”

I will share our successes and sadly, failings over the comings months, which of course we will learn from and take into the next term with renewed vigour.

*John’s name has been changed to protect his identity.

Just Arrived In-Store...

Quilceda Creek
Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

99 Points - Jeb Dunnuck

The flagship is the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon mostly from Champoux with the balance from Palengat and Wallula vineyards. Crème de cassis, graphite, black licorice, unsmoked tobacco, and hints of chocolate and emerge from this beauty and it continues to gain depth and nuance with time in the glass. Full-bodied, deep, and layered with an incredible purity and elegance on the palate, it's already accessible but has more than enough tannin, depth, and balance to evolve for two decades or more.

£181.95 per bottle


Quilceda Creek
Palengat Vineyard 2014

96 Points - Jeb Dunnuck 

A blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, the sensational 2014 Palengat Vineyard is loaded with notions of chocolate covered plums, licorice, roasted herbs, and graphite/lead pencil shavings. Up there with the of the top vintages of the cuvee, this full-bodied, rounded and hedonistic 2014 shines in the vintage, has no hard edges, gorgeous purity, and plenty of ripe, sweet tannin. It’s a serious mouthful of a Cabernet and will drink nicely for 10-15 years. This is a sensational vintage from Quilceda's Paul and Alex Golitzin! Both the classic Columbia Valley Cabernet and the Galitzine Vineyard are sheer perfection, and the Palengat release is also just about as good as it gets. These are incredible wines that offer everything you could want from Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon, and readers owe it to themselves to try these wines!

£114.95 per bottle


Dog Point Section 94 2015

17 Points – Jancis Robinson "Smell as though there is some light oak influence here. Dense and thrilling. This is a wine to convert me to Marlborough Sauvignon! Much more concentrated than the regular 2017 Sauvignon Blanc. Tense and rich at the same time but not particularly mineral. Reminds me a bit of PHI in the Yarra Valley. Impressively long."

Joe Czerwinski (erobertparker.com) "Whole-bunch pressed and wild fermented in oak, the 2015 Section 94 is still in a bit of youthful funk. Hints of green onion and sweat appear on the nose, but the flavors are settling into a comfortable range of stone fruit, melon and pink grapefruit. It's medium to full-bodied, with a rich, almost creamy texture and a long, plush finish. Give it another year or two and drink it over the next 5-6."

£21.00 per bottle


Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Our 2017 harvest will be remembered as the shortest one ever (21 days) at Dog Point Vineyard, later than normal due to the abnormally late summer weather, and finishing before major rain events in mid-April. It began with warm spring and summer weather resulting in good bud-burst and desirable even growth. Cool weather followed in early December with dry, and at times windy, weather mid-summer. Late February rain helped replenish the soil prior to harvest, and cooler but otherwise excellent growing conditions prevailed into the autumn. Attentive viticultural practice allowed us to achieve optimum physiological ripeness at lower sugars, resulting in impressive fruit flavours. Grapes are hand-picked from eight of Dog Points own vineyards within the Wairau Valley. The fruit is whole bunch pressed, cold settled before fermentation and 2-3 months aging in stainless steel tanks. A portion of this wine is fermented using indigenous yeast.
Bottled without fining.

Bob Campbell "Bright, fresh and reasonably concentrated sauvignon blanc with capsicum, lemongrass, gooseberry, wet stone, mineral and subtle tropical fruit flavours. Impressive purity and length, this high energy wine could develop well in bottle."

£15.25 per bottle


A wee update from Devotus winery
(Vinorium UK exclusivity)


'Inside the fermentation tank to get the last of the grapes out!'

“It’s been the normal organised chaos around the latest 2018 vintage, yet we are getting over the hump now, only one more tank to press off skins using the old basket-press (which I will do today, it’s useful being tall so that I can stand up, while inside the open top fermenter, and get some fresh air, amongst all that carbon dioxide!). Overall very happy with the 2018 vintage and how the fruit came in. We were lucky with the weather and our cropping levels where back to normal levels.

The 2017’s will be released on 1st August 2018 as per our normal cycle. 2017 was a tricky vintage for all of us guys here in New Zealand, the rain event over February, March and April 2017 made life challenging for us. We worked around the conditions here at Devotus by dropping a ton of fruit (literally!) and down-grading fruit from Devotus to Aprentis to ensure we kept our quality up. So, although we have less bottles than we would have liked we still hopefully have something that is decent. We have obviously kept an allocation (albeit a bit smaller than the 2016 offer) available for you”

Best Regards, Don McConachy (Owner / Vigneron)


Devotus Reserve Pinot Noir 2016

18.5+/20 Points - Raymond Chan "Full, even, very dark ruby-red colour with black-purple hues, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is tightly bound and expressed with elegance of proportion, the fruit pronounced in fragrant dark-red and black cherry and berry aromas, along with dark-red florals and subtle, complexing herbal notes. A touch of minerally reduction adds to the interest. Medium-bodied, the palate has bright and tightly bound flavours of ripe black cherry and berry fruit entwined with dark herbs, violet and dark-red florals and a little minerally reduction. The fruit is deeply concentrated with a core of very fine-grained flowery tannins providing good structure, and the palate is underlined by fresh acidity which enhances the linearity. The wine flows smoothly, leading to a very long, lingering finish of black fruits, florals herbs and minerals. This is an elegant, tightly bound, bright, black-fruited Pinot Noir with fragrant dark herbs and florals, with minerally elements on a very fine-grained palate with fresh acidity. Serve with lamb, beef and venison over the next 6-8+ years. Hand picked Pommard clone fruit from vines 30 y.o., fermented with 10% whole bunches to 12.0% alc., the wine on skins 13 days and aged 11 months in 25% new French oak barrels. 1,068 bottles made."

£57.95 per bottle


Devotus Pinot Noir 2016

18.5/20 Points - Raymond Chan "Ruby-red colour with some depth, lighter on the edge with some garnet hues. The nose is elegantly proportioned with finely concentrated aromas of savoury dark-red berry and cherry fruit which form a tight core with notes of dark herbs, subtle whole bunch stalk fragrances and dark florals providing complexing interest. A little smokiness and earthy detail adds piquant intensity. Medium-bodied, the palate has a smooth and seamlessly concentrated heart of sweetly ripe dark-red berry fruit with plum notes, along with subtle, savoury herb and whole bunch stalk elements. The fruit richness shows with elegance and style, and is supported by fine-grained supple tannin extraction that allows the fruit sweetness to prevail. Fine, lacy acidity provides energy, and the wine flows along a velvety line to a long, sustained, complex savoury red fruited and herb nuanced finish. This is an elegant and stylishly concentrated, seamless flowing Pinot Noir with savoury red fruit and herb flavours on a fine-grained palate with good vitality. Serve with wild duck and pork dishes over the next 6-7+ years. A blend of clones 667, 777, 114 and 115, plus Abel, from vines 22 y.o., the fruit hand-picked and indigenous yeast fermented with 50% whole bunches to 13.0% alc., the wine spending 11 days on skins and aged 11 months in seasoned French oak. 2,502 bottles made."

£36.95 per bottle


All our 2015 Bordeaux have departed and will be landing at LCB, Vinotheque late next week. We expect a 2-3 week turnaround for landing reports as the size of our shipment is substantial. Natalie & Jody will be in touch as soon as we are in receipt of the same.


Our En-Primeur Micro Site is ‘Live’

This year’s campaign kicked off with the unexpected release from one of Margaux top Châteaux, Palmer which is offered @ £1,175.00 IB per case of six. Granted, their release price is 20% lower than last year, which we dearly hope sets a precedence however, we advise buyers to look at the 2005 and 2009 vintages as these are superior wines / vintages and are available for the same money… Contrary to the opinion of some wine merchants / funds – this is not a sensible wine investment buy!

Interestingly, the Pauillac property of Château Haut Batailley (owned and run by the Cazes family of famed Château Lynch Bages) has released at a higher price compared to their 2015 offering (No 2016 was released). Cleary, and under a smart new label, the Cazes family are re-positioning the property, which has received some glowing reviews.


We kick-off our campaign with the delicious Pauillac, Château Haut Batailley, which we offer and highly recommend @ £247.50 IB per case of six.

James Suckling awards a generous 94-95 points placing one point behind it’s new owners, Lynch Bages and equal to the great Château Pichon Lalande, which will be released substantially more expensive.

The American critic, Jeb Dunnock awards 92-94 and believes it to be “A true gem in the vintage” which is high praise indeed.


The superb St Emilion, Château Tour St Christophe, which has been in meteoric form over the previous two vintages has been released. We have allocated to last year’s buyers with the remaining 8 cases available @ £260.00 IB per case. Please contact us if you wish to purchase a case of magnums (6x150) @ £270.00 IB per case of six magnums.


James Suckling 93-94 Points “Dense and layered red with dark berry, volcanic ash and white pepper. Full-bodied, layered and chewy. Muscular”

Jeb Dunnuck 91-93 Points “I tasted the 2017 Château Tour Saint Christophe on two sperate occasions and it never failed to impress. A rough blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc that hit 14.3% natural alcohol, it has a rocking sense of minerality to go with big, broad, expansive aromas and flavors. Blueberries, black raspberries, flowers, and violets characteristics, medium to full-bodied richness, fine tannin, and excellent purity all make this a terrific 2017 that will drink nicely for 10-15+ years”

Our microsite has been updated with tasting notes from James Suckling, Jeb Dunnuck, Julia Harding MW (Jancis Robinson.com) and Jane Anson (flying solo for Decanter). Neal Martin’s scores are being released on Monday with his colleague, Antonio Galloni releasing on Wednesday. Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW (Robert Parker.com) are being
released imminently

Biggest Sellers This Week

It’s been a busy week for Shirvington Estate with several wines selling out
(625 bottles in total):

• 2006 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

• 2008 Estate Shiraz

• 2006 Estate Shiraz (Magnums)

The stunningly good 2015 Pinot Noir Paul Lato has been snapped by an appreciative fan. We are looking forward to sampling Paul’s 2016 which are en-route to the UK.

We revealed last week Hong Kong’s interest in Henry’s Drive wines, those who have purchased various bottlings, will appreciate how utterly delicious they are – Such a bargain. 58 Cases (348 bottles) of the ’04 Reserve Shiraz is now making its way to Hong Kong (744 bottles of Henry’s Drive sold within the past 7 seven days…).

300 bottles of Torbreck’s 2003 The Steading was snapped-up along with a combined number of 780 bottles of Shirvington’s 2006 & 2007 Estate Shiraz.     


Our Next Saturday Opening is
5th May, 10am - 4pm

The Vinorium
Ashmill House, Ashmill Business Park, Ashford Road, 
Lenham, ME17 2GQ


Have a great weekend, 
Team Vinorium