Competition – Georgie Fenn


Georgie Fenn is – hoorah – a young woman, who describes herself thus: ‘I suppose if I was a wine I’d be the Sijnn Red 2010 from South Africa. Why? It is quite specific I admit. But I’m quite a complex blend of various personalities ranging from wild to organised and yet, at times I really can be quite sweet but it’s often hidden behind quite a robust exterior. I’m also a little old before my time… 

'I’m in my mid-twenties and wondering what on earth this life thing is all about, whether I should agree to be someone’s girlfriend when I’m so happy alone and trying to work out how to balance my zest for fun, wine, debauchery and horses with being an adult and paying the bills. I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually. When it comes to wine I’m a bit like an over-excited terrier, chasing after more knowledge but never really knowing what to do with it.’

And here’s her unedited entry into our seminal wine competition.

If you’re about to open a delicious bottle of wine while reading this, please, hold on for a moment as one of my first experiences of wine is so unbelievably revolting it could ruin your entire evening. I was around 14 years old, watching the Rugby World Cup at a family friends who I can admit I wasn’t a huge fan of spending my time with. I wondered off in boredom and found myself pouring some lukewarm boxed Chardonnay into a mug (how naïve I was.) As you can imagine, it tasted revolting upon my first sip and so I did what all aspiring connoisseurs no doubt do and added some coca cola. I’m sadly not joking, I just didn’t want to throw it away. Out of sheer stubbornness at my ‘unusual choice’ I decided to drink it anyway, and pretended to enjoy it.

It was quite a few years after this initial incident that I decided to try my taste buds for wine again. I realised, with glee, that merlot was delicious and not only had I found a taste for wine but olives too. My Dad has always gone for big reds, we’d spend hours in the Wine Rack as he held the bottle up to the light trying to decide whether it was a deep enough red. Anything below 13% and he’d smirk at it. He’s by no means an alcoholic but the richer and more robust the red, the happier he is. My taste buds, be it my Dad’s interference or drinking too much port out hunting since I was about 12, have worked up a peculiar similarity when it comes to wine, I like them big.

Picture, if you will, Geneva in November 2015 and two girls waiting for their skiing transfer on an adventure of Swatches and Swiss cheese. It was a seven hour wait, so my sister Harriet and I walked through every nook and cranny of Geneva, searching for history and mainly people, there was a real lack of people in Geneva, it was bliss.

After our adventures, we were ready for a sit down and as Harry caught a glimpse of the ruby red juice oozing out of a neighbouring tables perfectly rare burger, we decided to go into Denise’s Art of Burger bar. We both had beef burgers with the various sides and a glass of house red, it wasn’t too pricey and it was my first distinguishable memory of discovering Gamay and I’ve been hooked ever since. Sadly, I never took too much notice of the name of the wine, and I’ve never been able to find it again. It was so fruity, but rich, almost port-like and syrupy but fresh at the same time, just perfection.

At a later date back in little Stamford at work I was explaining this mysterious red to my (then) boss, Peter Hunt, a fine wine expert himself and he said, “Well if you’re into those sorts of wines have you ever tried an Amarone,” Peter pronounced it am-err-ony (like pony) and I’ve stuck to that. I hadn’t even heard of the Amarone grape until this point so Peter took great pleasure in explaining the process of Amarone wines to me. When I finally got my hands on a bottle from the local Sainsbury’s (Amarone Della Valpolicella) I was dumbfounded and I’ve been poor ever since. I was on a new journey, I needed to try more.

Something in the fragments of my brain started to come together, I was enjoying all this learning and I discovered that I was heartily passionate about the subject of wine. I threw myself into the warren of wine knowledge and strived to know more. I started a blog and by sharing it on social media, some fantastic people have been in touch to encourage me to grow my knowledge even more. For wine creates a community, a group of people sharing a similar passion for something so easy to enjoy, yet so alarmingly feared by many others. I hardly know anything about wine, I only know what I’ve tried or what I’ve read so far and in the grand scheme of things that isn’t very much at all. But I’m very passionate, if someone starts telling me about a winery, I listen intently. If I discover a fantastic bottle of Rioja, I look up the producers. I want everyone to see the wine world as I do, full of love, passion, history and most of all, open to new people to learn all about this wonderful industry.