Love wine? Then you’ll love this!

{Penned by Lindsay Pike, from our marketing team.  Who’s fairly partial to a glass of wine. Or two.}

With good food, there must be the option of equally good wines, and Oak Ridge Hotels has an excellent relationship with wine merchants Corney & Barrow who have furnished our wine list for a number of years now.  In addition to this we also run wine tasting events in conjunction with – and hosted by – Corney & Barrow at both the Ashbourne & Brackenborough Hotels.

One of our biggest obstacles in selling these events is some peoples’ belief that they will be pretentious, stuffy and essentially an evening-long lecture on what one should and should not be drinking.

Happily, this preconception could not be further from the truth.

Before I hopped aboard the Oak Ridge Hotels ship, I was invited to a wine tasting event at the Brackenborough, and held this very opinion, but accepted the invitation with good grace, mentally preparing myself for an evening’s endurance test. However, as soon as I arrived, and met the charming and charismatic Corney & Barrow rep – James Long – I knew the evening was going to be special, and I wasn’t wrong.   With his seemingly infinite supply of hilarious anecdotes, ability to engage the entire room, and charming, pervasive wit, the wine was clearly just going to be an added bonus.  And all of this before the food had even arrived!

Standard format is a selection of reds and whites to taste pre-dinner (spitting is optional – it depends on what you rate as value for money v pure wastage/sacrilege, and of course, whether you’re driving).  Then, alongside a carefully planned 3 course dinner tailor-made in conjunction with James, there will be a glass of wine selected to complement and accentuate each dish presented. And we’re not just talking standard menu options here either; these are dishes that are unavailable on the regular menu, thoughtfully devised to marry perfectly with each variety of wine, though dietary requirements can always be factored in. Each tasting event normally follows a specific theme – French, Italian, New World etc, with the wines and menu inspired by this.  In all, up to 10 different wines are normally sampled over the course of an evening, which really helps conversation flow with whomever you’ve come along (if I remember correctly!)

Yes, there may be wines on the list that you’d never normally sample (Gewürztraminer – the sweet dessert wine at the end of the evening – was surprisingly popular with the majority of the guests at the particular event I attended, myself included, to my amazement) but overall, James Long’s mantra is “if you like what you like, then just drink it and enjoy”.  I found this to be a refreshing approach, and knew I could return home to my supermarket special-offer wine purchases if that’s what I wanted, but ultimately, the thoroughly entertaining, engaging and informative evening means that most people come away with at least a couple of new grape varieties that they’re desperate to try more of.

Which is never a bad thing, is it?

We have a calendar of wine tasting events at both hotels, which offers jaw-dropping value for money.  Visit or call The Ashbourne on 01469 541010 / The Brackenborough on 01507 609169 to learn more about one of the true hidden gems on our events lists.


For more information on Corney & Barrow, visit their website:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s