An interview with Sandy Ramsay of W’est Solutions.
Wine and Champagne tastings are great fun and are popular with a wide range of Winton House visitors. They are perfect for rounding off an afternoon of energetic outdoor activities, a corporate team building exercise or to kick off a special celebration.
Sandy Ramsay of W’est Solutions regularly hosts wine and Champagne tastings at Winton. Living in North Berwick but with her roots in Canada, for nearly 20 years Sandy has been advising businesses and consumers on hundreds of different wines and whiskies, from Louis Latour and Wolf Blass to Heidsieck Champagne and Highland Park. Sandy has also been a National Account Manager for Penfolds and Lindemans. She is an Approved Program Provider (APP) with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET).
Needless to say, Sandy is passionate about both wines and whiskies!
“My wine and whisky tastings are light hearted, fun and educational. It’s all about learning in a fun, dynamic way. I use wines and Champagnes which people wouldn’t normally buy for themselves, choosing wines that are excellent examples of different grape varietals. I take people through the history and explain why wines taste the way they do.
“I provide tastings to suit clients’ needs while being flexible in order to meet budgets. Guests can choose from sit down or stand up events, wine and cheese tastings, Champagne and chocolate tastings, wine dinners, blind Champagne tastings and much more …. It’s up to them.
“Guests at a recent Winton Champagne reception had a chance to taste some of the best vintage Champagnes in the world – Krug Grande Cuvee, Louis Roederer’s Cristal, vintage Dom Perignon, or Veuve Cliquot La Grand Dame. It truly was a special night.
“Blind Champagne tastings can be great for birthday and anniversary celebrations. Guests enjoy the Champagnes and then must guess which one is the top Champagne house and which one is a sparkling wine pretending to be a Champagne. People often get it wrong but it is a lot of fun!
“Champagne and chocolate tasting is also a great combination. I use 70% organic cocoa chocolate, infused with cinnamon, cardamin, nutmeg or orange – the flavours and the chocolate compliment the subtleties within the Champagnes.
“Whisky tastings are also very popular – whisky and chocolate tastings provide a good tasting combination; the peat nuances and spicy flavours in whisky paired with infused organic chocolate. But let us not stop there, organic whisky paired with a sensory tasting using fresh cinnamon and nutmeg is another wonderful option.”
On the corporate side, wine tasting at Winton can be used as part of a team-building programme. Each team is given six unlabelled wines along with tasting notes. With some assistance with history and a tasting tutorial, the teams collectively match the wines to the notes.
‘Wine dinners’ are a new addition to the Winton portfolio. At a wine dinner, Sandy Ramsay introduces and talks about the wine for each course, from the starter to the dessert, ending with a port to create a wonderful food and wine extravaganza.
Concluding the interview, Sandy was asked what she particularly liked about Winton House:
“Winton House is like a gem that’s hidden away. You really feel like you’re invited into a special friend’s home. The ambience is homely, friendly, comfortable and inviting. It’s a privilege to visit.”
You can find out more about W’est Solutions at www.westwinetasting.com