Here at THE PIGs, we believe in homegrown talent from gardeners to sommeliers we provide every PIG person with the skills they need to excel and take their knowledge to the next level. One of the ways we do this for our wine team is to go on lots of exciting and educational wine trips throughout the year - what better way to learn than from the experts!
We bring everything we learn across these trips back home to THE PIGs – and we’re committed to furthering our education closer to home too. Whilst we don’t have the results just yet, we also delivered our first WSET Level 3 course in-house to 9 sommeliers across the group (this is pretty unique!).
Over the year, a whopping 28 team members have completed WSET qualifications (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) and (drumroll!) … the results are now in. We have had 12 Distinctions, 13 Merits and 3 Pass’s! On top of this we have 7 members of the team currently going through the WSET L4 Diploma!
Read on to hear an overview of just a few of the trips that our wine teams have been on in 2023. In addition, we have also had Sommeliers visit the Loire, South America, South Africa, Rioja, Bordeaux, Germany, Tuscany, Piedmont, Veneto, not to mention the many visits to our friends in vineyards around the UK!
Liberty Wines, Burgundy, France - May 2023
Our wine team embarked on a north to south trip of the historical region Burgundy in France. There is evidence that wine growing has been taking place in this region since the 2nd century! The team were led by the esteemed Karen Taylor from Liberty Wines, and David Gleave (Founder and chairman of Liberty!). Starting in Chablis, the team moved south to the Cote D’or, where they stayed in the beautiful town of Beaune, and eventually south once more to Beaujolais. It was an enlightening journey that encompassed variation in climate and wine styles. True bucket list stuff!
Tenuta Fertuna, Tuscany, Italy - June 2023
Our teams visited Tenuta Fertuna in The Maremma region, Tuscany. Paolo Rivella (Head Winemaker) and the team at Tenuta Fertuna are responsible for our beloved Pig Cut wines. We visit each year to experience firsthand, the story behind the label. Knowing the people and provenance behind our wine is crucial! Our friend Alan Montague-Dennis from Mentzendorff led the trip. The second half of which saw the teams visiting the town of Montalcino which is famous for its Brunello wine.
Champagne, France – July 2023
In July our teams were fortunate enough to have visited the world-renowned region of Champagne. Whilst it was interesting to digest how this region came to be (and still is) one of great commercial strength, the compelling takeaway, was the sheer artisanal nature of the historic and soulful Maison Bollinger. The prestigious, handmade Special Cuvee wine is poured across THE PIGs and we couldn’t be more proud!
Porto and The Douro Valley – Mentzendorff. October.
As 2023 is rounding to a close, sommeliers pursuing the demanding WSET Diploma and Level 3 embarked on a journey to the Douro Valley. This educational trip was all about delving into the world of fortified wine, Port. Starting in Villa Nova de Gaia's historic centre, the team explored the recently unveiled World of Wine. Then, they ventured deeper into the upper Douro Valley, the birthplace of grape growing for Port grapes. Along the way, they had the privilege of visiting iconic estates, including Quinta da Roeda, Quinta do Panascal, Taylor's Nogueira, and Taylor's Quinta de Vargellas. A voyage to remember!