Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The Best of Vinspire 2013

I love the joy and excitement in Freddy's post this morning, and I can't wait to explore all the new drinks finds and trends that are bound to happen in 2014, but I felt I couldn't move forward without taking a final look back.

2013 was the year Vinspire was founded. We'd all attempted drinks blogs before, but none of us had stuck to them, and we couldn't put our finger on why. So decided to start a drinks blog we could run as a team, spurred on by each others' enthusiasm, and it's gone pretty bloody well if I'm honest.

We began properly in April. What followed was nine months of more fun, thrills and opportunities than we'd ever anticipated. We have around 2000 people joining in with our Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest communities (do join us) and you visit us in your thousands each month. For that, we are incredibly grateful (and just a bit proud) and we're incredibly excited about what 2014 has in store.

Here are a few of your (and our) favourite things that happened on Vinspire in 2013:

Wine

Freddy introduced us to Some Young Punks - the delicious range of Aussie wines with perhaps the best labels in the world - whereas Jo shouted about a brilliant Argentine brand, Trivento, which has been lurking on our supermarket shelves without the love and attention it deserves.

In fact, Jo's been brilliant at piquing our wine interest this year. Her cheese and wine matching tips have proven hugely popular, and everyone went a bit barmy when she unveiled all that's good about the latest trend for sparkling red wines. Grab yourself a slice of chocolate cake and check those bad boys out.



Beer



There were many a splendid beer discovery in 2014, none more so than Curious Brew, the beer created by English wine producer Chapel Down. Sam drank A LOT of that in 2013.

Then there was Matt's first love, the Windsor & Eton brewery, whose Royal Wedding beer was pretty spectacular. I'm not sure we'll see another Royal Wedding beer for some time - let's face it, Harry's probably going to have a Royal Wedding Tequila - but I'm certainly going to be following W&E for their latest releases.

Lastly, you all went understandably bonkers for our Beer Gift Guide. Especially thrilling was The Beeroness' amazing beer recipe book - we gave a few of them for Christmas, I can tell you. Don't forget - beer gifts are for life, not just for Christmas.

Spirits

Image from Andrew Hyde's photostream under the CCL
It was a year of spirit experimentation for the Vinspire team (we had the hangovers to prove it) but when it comes to spirit smarts, we all bowed down to the almighty Hugo. Every week he brought something incredible to the table, and sat at that metaphorical table and got tipsy, and it was good.

His beginner's guide to whisky regions was a firm favourite with everyone (now we can become whisky gods too!) but at the opposite end of the scale we all went a bit nuts when he found us a cheaper alternative to Pimms that tasted just as good. Now it's always Austin's O'Clock. Always.

You obviously enjoyed a bit of DIY boozing, though, as our most-read post of the year was this piece on Infused Vodka recipes. Good work, everyone.

Accessories


Surprisingly for such a boozy lot, the accessories pieces were some of our most popular in 2013. From the weird and wonderful wine racks (wineosaur!) to the stemless wine glasses (too pretty! TOO PRETTY) you went a bit bonkers for pretty things to put your wine in.

You also proved that decanters are now officially cool - especially when they combine style with a bargain - and that Sarah Baxter is possibly the world's greatest genius for inventing recycled wine box CAT BUNK BEDS.

I don't know why I'm surprised, but geek chic drinking went down a treat in 2013 too, and for all the right reasons. Proving the goblet is very much back en vogue, these Game of Thrones ACTUAL REPLICA goblets proved immensely popular, as did our range of drinking board games - need I remind you about whisky top trumps and Corkers the wine game?

Opinion and Exploration


Things got lairy in 2013 too, and you seemed to like it. Freddy pissed quite a lot of (annoying) people off with his feature on being a Wine Stereotype (don't lie, you know people that fit into every category) and also got his geek on by discussing champagne's influence on the Hip-Hop scene.

And of course we threw our weight behind Domaine Jones after an act of vandalism destroyed her 2012 vintage - one of the most shocking wine news stories of the year.

You seemed to like us going out and about too - especially when Tim rocked up to the Wine Car Boot Sale and Freddy went all elite and swanky by not only visiting Hedonism, the coolest wine shop ever, but also spending a week at the Champagne Academy in France.

All in all, it's been a pretty smashing year. And 2014 is going to be so, so much better. Fancy getting involved? Email us your ideas, or watch this space...

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