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Ask Arabella

Let's talk wine! Ask Arabella is a page dedicated to providing you with an expert level of knowledge on all things wine. Simply e-mail us with your question and our in-house Master of Wine – Dr Arabella Woodrow, will endeavour to answer as soon as possible.

Dr Arabella Woodrow has been a Master of Wine for 27 years and we are incredibly grateful for her expertise in all areas of wine. With only 302 Masters of Wine worldwide and just 185 in the UK, few can compete with Arabella’s wisdom and experience.

Whether you have a question you are longing to know the answer to or you simply want a recommendation for what to eat with your wine, Ask Arabella provides a fountain of knowledge for even the most novice wine drinker.


What is wine sediment?

Wine Sediment comprises of compounds which are formed during the winemaking process, such as remains of the yeasts, and coloured matter from the grape skins. Wine is normally filtered before bottling to remove this, but chemical changes during the ageing...
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I’m having a dinner party and serving duck, what wine should I serve?

If you're cooking duck you will definitely want to serve a red wine as a white will seem insipid against the strong meaty flavours. The tannin in a red is needed to cope with the protein and richness of the meat, which in turn will enhance the flavours of the wine....
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What is tannin?

Tannin is a substance found in grape skins that gives red wine its 'bite'. It is also found in tea: which is why tea that has been brewed for too long can give a mouth puckering dryness. Without the tannin, some red wines may seem flabby and lifeless, this is...
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What benefit does decanting offer?

Decanting red wine not only allows the wine to breathe, which helps soften it and brings out its full flavours, but it also useful if there is any sediment or natural deposits in the bottle. All you have to do is let the bottle stand up-right and still for a few hours to...
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What wine is a safe bet for a party?

Party wines will not be the centre of attention as everyone will be having too much fun! For a white wine, something fruity will work well. If you'll be serving food, choose a dry rather than a medium style. Our Waipapa Bay New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is a crowd...
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Spreading the cost of Christmas

Christmas can be a stressful time for us all and buying drinks for the festive season is no exception. Our Master of Wine, Arabella Woodrow shares some of her tips for getting the most for your money this Christmas: Buy wine by the case - it may seem like an...
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Warming your wine

If you find your red wine is a little too chilled and you want to serve it quickly, you can put it in a warm airing cupboard for 30 minutes. Raising the temperature to room temperature, it will then be ready to serve when required. 
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