Tuesday 13 December 2016

Wine Tasting at the Pip Stop, County Durham

I'm the first to admit that I'm no wine connoisseur. I have no idea what wine compliments my food, don't really have a favourite and tend to pick out my tipple based on how pretty the label is. So when I was invited to Lanchester for an evening of Wine Tasting at the Pip Stop I said yes without hesitation.

Wine Tasting at the Pip Stop

You'll find The Pip Stop in the countryside of County Durham, selling wine and beer from their beautifully converted 1950's car garage. Stocking a wide range of wines to suit every budget it's quite a shopping experience browsing the bottles in such a unique location.

The quirky decor shows off the building's heritage and we particularly loved the real Mini Coopers embedded in the wall - I know you're all thinking it's my awful parking but I promise you they are supposed to be there!

Pip Stop Lanchester
The Pip Stop host regular tasting events throughout the year with themed tasting evenings and wine walks, allowing you to travel the vineyards of the world without leaving the North East.

We were invited to the Christmas Wine Walk, preparing us for the festive season with a little introduction to what wines are best to pair with our Turkey, Cheese Board and Mince Pies. In the running for husband of the year, Simon was "Designated Dave" for the evening as I happily skipped about the Pip Stop browsing all the bottles - if you like your wine this really is the ultimate shopping destination.

Wine Tasting at the Pip Stop

Tickets to the Christmas Wine Tasting cost £10 which included all of the food samples and 12 tokens which are exchanged for a glass of wine from the selection at the tasting counter. The event offers great value for money with generous glasses of wine served for your tokens.

The event was really relaxed which the amateur in me was thankful for. I don't know about you but I've found there's often a certain amount of snobbery attached to wine and there have been times where I've felt pretty embarrassed that I quite like a nice sweet bottle of Zinfandel. There was no pretentious swishing about of glasses at the Pip Stop, instead we were left to enjoy our night with the  staff on hand to explain what wine pairs well with festive treats and give recommendations.

At the Pip Stop you are encouraged to enjoy wine with friends and form your own opinion on each wine because, at the end of the day, everyone has different tastes. I really loved this attitude towards the tasting and it made me feel really comfortable.

Wine Tasting at the Pip Stop

There was a good variety of white, red and rose wines at the tasting table to try - each one paired with traditional Christmas foods.

I eased myself in with a glass of Chateau Gairoird, a beautiful light pink rose with notes of white peach, strawberry and grapefruit. As it's light it's perfect with seafood canap├ęs so I enjoyed my glass with some prawns from the tasting table. At only £10.99 a bottle I could definitely see me enjoying this one with my Starter on Christmas Day.

Wine Tasting at the Pip Stop

Next up I went for a white, the Silver Creek Viognier had notes of peaches, pears and apricots and we were recommended to try it with Turkey as a great alternative for those that don't fancy a red. Changing wines throughout your courses isn't a must and this wine is so beautifully light and fruity that it works well with multiple courses. At only £6.49 a bottle this is a great addition to your Christmas wine selection.

Wine Tasting at the Pip Stop

I'm not usually a fan of dessert wines but I gave the Deen Vat 5 a go, just so I could justify helping myself to some of the mince pies on offer. A sweet wine with apricot and citrus - it was enjoyable but a little too much for me. I think I'll stick to having a cup of tea with my mince pies!

I will admit things got a little fuzzy at this point as I was having such a lovely time chatting to people in the shop and swiping greedy amounts of cheese from the Cheese Board. I know there was definitely a beautiful glass of Riesling involved as Simon I strolled around the store picking out Christmas gifts for family and friends.

Wine Tasting at the Pip Stop

  I really loved the relaxed and friendly atmosphere at the Pip Stop and their Tasting Evenings make a great night out. If you fancy trying out one of the Pip Stop Tasting Evenings for yourself here's what you can expect in the New Year:

January 26th - Gin Tasting

February 9th - Beer Tasting

February 23rd - Wine Tasting

For more information on the the Pip Stop including their Tasting Events check out their website here.

We enjoyed a complimentary evening of wine tasting - we will definitely be returning!


  1. Now that's the sort of wine tasting I like the sound of! I'm pretty rubbish at choosing a "good" wine, I usually end up choosing based on the price and the label on the bottle! ;) Alice xxx


  2. You are so right that there is an abundance of snobbery when it comes to wine. I'm not sure why, as what is delicious to one person is entirely different to annother. This looks like a great way to taste wonderful wines in a relaxed environment, perfect Lucy x

  3. It's good to hear you get a generous portion when you're tasting the wine, it's a pet hate of mine to get a thimble full to try! Good on Simon as well for driving!

  4. This looks like my sort of night! I would never buy a sweet wine but when I've had the odd glass in a restaurant with dessert I've actually enjoyed it. We're hosting Christmas Day lunch for 12 people next year so I think we'll definitely consider a dessert wine (obviously from The Pip Stop). Fab pics - I can't wait to visit!

  5. This sounds like a great night! I'd love to go to a tasting like this, but maybe the gin one would be my scene! xo


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