One Town Will Turn Water Into Wine

We like to avoid religion on our fun and friendly blog here at Virgin Wines, however the miracle of turning water into wine will soon be a reality for one Greek Town.

Residents of Naoussa in Greece will be greeted by the site of flowing wine in their central square as authorities are turning their famous fountain into one of the biggest wine decanters I’ve ever personally seen.


In an effort to get the locals in a mood to party and turn Naoussa into the ultimate Greek wine city, 32,000 litres of wine made from the Xinomavro grape will be poured into the fountain creating a visual spectacular that locals will remember.

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Garlic Prawns With A Sweet Chilli Dip

Finca Manzanos White Rioja 2014

We all love Rioja and often look to the regions red wines as a safe bet when ordering or entertaining. However, I urge you to try their un-oaked whites. Made from the native varietal Viura you’ll find grapefruit, soft pear, honeysuckle and almond notes, with a lingering finish of stone fruit. It makes a great match to a whole host of starters, especially grilled fish, shellfish, prawns and squid.


Garlic prawns with a sweet chilli dip

25g of butter

20-24 large prawns, shelled and butterflied

4 gloves garlic peeled and very finely sliced

1 lemon cut into thick slices

Small handful fresh coriander

Salt & pepper

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Celebrating Finca Manzanos – 125 Years On

It’s easy to pick up a bottle and not consider where it’s come from and who made it. It’s delicious juice in a well presented bottle that will compliment our food and help us unwind. Every now and again you get a glimpse into just how special some wineries are. We’ve been working with Finca Manzanos for many years now and the quality is unparalleled. Not only are the wines spectacular, but the people behind the wines are as friendly a bunch as you’ll find in the business, and the winery is breathtaking.

This year, Finca Manzanos are celebrating their 125 year anniversary. They’ve been kind enough to send over a selection of photos take this week to showcase their winery and we’re delighted to bring them to you today. Next time you’re sipping on a tasty treat from Finca Manzanos, remember these images, this is where your wine comes from:

Blog Post 1

Blog Post 2

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Foolproof Your Valentines – Competition

Valentines day can creep up on you, then the panic sets in. We’ve combined with some of our favourite partners to ensure the pressure is dissolved and you can just enjoy your evening. Cleaning the house? Don’t worry, our friends at Handy will handle that for you. Deciding on dinner? Our buddies at Gousto have you covered. An after dinner treat?…behave! Mallow and Marsh have something special for you. Of course, your wine is all taken care of!

To enter this competition, it couldn’t be any simpler, just click HERE and fill in your details.

Don’t forget to give the video a cheeky little watch.

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PYDA – Mariska Witbooi’s Story

We are absolutely delighted to be working with the Pinotage Youth Development Academy. The academy develops the capacity of young, disadvantaged South Africans to prepare them for employment within the wine industry and related sectors.

PYDA - Picture 1My name is Mariska Witbooi . I was born in Paarl in the Western Cape. I passed my matric in 2012 and because I was very passionate about health care I wanted to be a social worker and then a paramedic. This didn’t work out and someone suggested civil engineering which I realised was not possible for me .

One day my friend came to me with the newspaper and she told me to apply to the advert at PYDA. I was excited but I didn’t know at all what the wine industry was all about. After I was chosen to be a student at Pinotage I was excited because I knew it was my time to shine.

We have learned all about hospitality and there my love for the tasting room started! I really like to present the wines to people and just be myself and build a relationship with the customers. My love for the tasting room got even bigger when I got placed at Kanonkop Wine Estate. I felt that this is what I want to do and I finally found my true self but it didn’t end there.

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Happy Australia Day

The UK loves Australian wine, whether it’s the big hitting reds or the refreshing whites, we import the Aussie tipple in boat loads, and with their wine industry taking off in a big way, that’s hardly surprising. Today we are celebrating Australia Day with our brothers from down under, enjoying all that is Australia. The culture, the food, the sun and of course the wine.


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Slow Cooked Beef Stew With The Gran Villa Gran Reserva 2004

Gran villa Gran Reserva 2004

The magnificence of a Spanish Gran Reserva is that the winery have cellared it for you and released it when it is at the peak of its powers. All mellow fruit and silky tannins, these wines perform so much better when paired with food. So here’s a simple recipe to put this into practice.

Slow cooked beef stew (I use top-rib) served with rosemary and garlic infused bread.


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Your Wine & Food Pairing Recommendations

Over the weekend we receive a lot of tweets about the wines you’re currently enjoying. Most of them will include some food matching ideas. We’ve wrote a number of articles regarding pairing food and wine but we’re always intrigued by the combinations you come up with.

So if you have the Monday morning blues, and you’re already planning for the weekend. Maybe some of these tweets can offer a little inspiration for your Saturday night wine and cuisine.


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The Facts About New Years Resolutions

Most of us will make a new years resolution. A new start, a new you. On the first of January we are full of enthusiasm for our new life, riding high on the crest of excitement created by a Christmas break. We over-indulge on mince pies, glasses of port and enough turkey to provide sandwiches for a month. Then comes the guilt, the realization that you’ll soon need to struggle back into those work clothes and re-enter the 9-5 world. This is the point you make your decisions:

New Years Resolution


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Enjoying Our Meals With Gousto

Partnering the perfect wine with the perfect dish can be a complicated matter, and you’d be forgiven for coming out in sweats when asked to do so. However if you follow some very simple rules, you really can’t go wrong.

First of all, the key word is balance. The principle is to ensure that neither the food nor the wine overpower the other. You match the weight and richness of the food with the body of the wine, the flavour intensity of both and the acidity or sweetness of either.


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Wines That You Love – Christmas

Wine is a very personal taste, a delicious can’t miss wine to us may not have quite the same effect for you. However we love to hear all comments and ratings for our wines and we have collected thousands and thousands over the year. We’re delighted to see so many five star comments, and we pay very close attention to the odd one star rating that we receive too.

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We’re still open for Christmas business and you have all week to get your orders in, guaranteed for Christmas delivery. We appreciate there are a lot of wines on the website and we speak favorably on each and every one, mainly because we bought it so we love it. However today I thought I’d take a different route and share some comments we’ve received from our customers over the last week. Hopefully that helps your decision making.

White’s Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014 – £10.99

“Marlborough is one of New Zealand’s sunniest, driest areas located on the east coast, with mountains to the west. It’s in those bright yet relatively ‘cool’ conditions that Sauvignon grapes enjoy a slow, steady flavour-intensifying ripening. And that gives us one of the world’s most distinctive and expressive wine styles: Kiwi Sauvignon! You’ll revel in the ripe pineapple streak and gooseberry zing of Whites Bay. We recommend you serve this wine well-chilled as an aperitif or with your favourite seafood.” – Virgin

Sensational wine. I loved it so much I kept a hold of the empty bottle last night so I could re order and this morning an email arrived from yourselves for a case of this on special xmas offer – great timing, thank you Virgin. – Susann 5/5

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PYDA – Xolisa Mnyanda Tells Her Story

UntitledMy name is Xolisa Mnyanda. I was born in a small town called Elliot in the Eastern Cape, South Africa and I grew up in the Western Cape in Kayamandi township. I passed my matric in 2012. After matric I took a “gap year” as I didn’t know what I wanted to do or how to get an opportunity. That didn’t make me give up and not want to study further and now I am a student at Pinotage Youth Development Academy.

I have just come back from 4 weeks on a marketing, sales and tourism work placement where we practice the skills we learn in class. Over the seven months in the Academy we have been in two different placements. The first placement in July (winter in SA) we were pruning and I was placed in Longridge. The first day was so horrible and very scary, because that morning it was freezing cold and we had to be in the vineyards and prune. In the evening my hands were sore and so red however I did not give up I carried on and did what I was supposed to do. As the days went by I fell in love with working in the vineyards and I really enjoyed myself. I was so sad to leave because I love working in the vineyards.


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Settling Down With Some Christmas TV

We’re breaking a little from the norm today, mainly because this blog has little to do with Wine. We talk wine 24/7, the flavours, the body, the weight and acidity, great deals, good deals and special offers. However a major aspect of enjoying any bottle of wine is to enjoy what you’re doing while your tucking in. Wine with food is always special, but sometimes you just want to curl up in front of the TV with a bottle of wine and some festive favourites on the box.

I love a good Christmas film and there are several films I’ll watch throughout December every single year. It’s as much a tradition as carols, trees and turkey. Here are my films, but I want to hear the films you love around the holidays. So get in touch on either Facebook or Twitter.

Home Alone – 1990


Home AloneA Christmas classic if ever there was one. An 8 year old home alone, defending his house from a couple of burglars with an assortment of traps. I have seen this film upwards of 100 times and it’s timeless. The only difference between watching this in my late twenties as opposed to watching it as a 10 year old is I get to enjoy a nice glass of wine or two while I watch Harry and Marv fail miserably to outwit a rather intelligent and resourceful child. It doesn’t get better than this on Christmas Eve.



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Winter Wonderland – Norwich Tasting

On Friday we completed our yearly schedule of wine tastings with a trip up the road for our home tasting in Norwich. Every single year we sell out our Norwich tasting very early. So this year we changed the venue and doubled the capacity. With this being the first ever tasting in December, the Christmas spirit was on show with the Christmas jumpers, hats and tree on show, and the wine flowing.

Unfortunately it wasn’t a white tasting, unless you count the numerous prosecco and sauvignon blanc bottles being consumed, but there was some festive cheer.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came out for one of our tastings this year. We’ve been to the north and south, Ireland, Wales and Scotland and we can’t wait to do it all again in the New Year. We are constantly adding dates to our tasting page, so make sure you check back often to ensure you don’t miss out.


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Virgin Wines Can Help You This Festive Season

We’re firmly into December now and we are hurtling towards the big day with no breaks and no signs of slowing down. I’m sure you’re all very busy trying to decide what to buy for your mother-in-law, and how to avoid spending too much on yourself while you shop for others. You may need to start thinking about that big Christmas shop at Tesco or if you fancy a little treat, maybe Waitrose. Which means you’re also going to be thinking about drink, drink and more drink. Unfortunately we can’t help you with the kids juice boxes or your wacky aunts pomegranate, elderflower and bovril smoothie, however we can help filling that wine-rack.


Here is a quick guide to how we can help you this festive season.

Everyone Loves Getting Something For Free

We’re fortunate enough to work with a great bunch of companies as part of the Virgin group. As such, we sometimes like to get our heads together and come up with a give-away for our fans and followers on social media. If you don’t already follow us on TWITTER or FACEBOOK make sure you head on over now and give us a cheeky like.

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