I continually stop and pinch myself at the speed at which the world has changed since the early days of this pandemic.  It seems extraordinary to think that it was all but seven weeks ago that I was sitting in a restaurant – it seems like an eternity.   On the other hand, home cooking has never been so imaginative – I’m really rather enjoying it.  What was it today?  Prawns for lunch?  On a Monday no less?  Wow, what a treat!

But what of Hannibal Brown?  Until seven weeks ago, we’d been planning the continued development and expansion of our corporate wine business and label personalisation (check out www.personalisedwinedesign.co.uk) which we’ve grown over the last four years.  But the pandemic put paid to those plans literally overnight, with pretty much the entire nation closing their doors indefinitely.

Then there were our external events – Badminton Horse Trials, the Hay International Book Festival and our own seasonal consumer wine events – all cancelled until further notice – another colossal blow to our revenues.

But then the signs of a silver lining – our newly developed website (thank you 3Mil!), ready and able to cope with an unexpected yet welcome influx in online wine sales.  Could we manage?  Were our systems sufficiently robust to cope with an online spike?  It got me thinking about the virtues of being small and nimble with a great team of capable people, able to react fast to a change in customer demand when all around us we were hearing of larger retails unable to supply, not able to deliver and some even closing their doors.

In truth, the few service issues we have faced were solved thanks to small, like-minded, local businesses jumping in to help out and we thank them and won’t forget them.

We’ve taken massive learnings from this enforced lockdown – the need for imagination, open-mindedness, constantly re-thinking and re-formulating, and never, ever losing belief.  Who would have thought that the idea of a hosted ‘virtual’ wine tasting could become so popular?  Now we have dozens of households taking part.  Then there’s our DIY tasting kits – literally a kit, including wine, with which to hold your own wine tasting?  Simple!  And as for our foray into social media live streaming, who’d have thought people would want to tune in a watch us live on a Sunday evening?  Well, it turns out they do!

People have been so embracing to change, it’s refreshing to see the nation’s resilience in times of challenge and restriction.

Let’s stick together everyone – we’re gonna get through this.

Who’d have thought it…  So many of you out there are so keen to get your hands on one of our brand new DIY Wine Tasting Kits! 

Actually, we’ve been offering wine kits for years, but never really gave them a second thought.  Afterall, our REAL LIVE wine tasting events were always so much fun and great customer interaction.  But whilst we brave the on-slaught of you know what, and have had to put all our live events on hold, the ‘Doing-It-Yourself’ thing doesn’t seem such a daft idea.

What’s more, you can compete with friends and neighbours by encouraging them to purchase the same kit – a proper competition that isn’t restricted by the lockdown.

The wine kits’ contents include an array of vinous questions and plenty of entertaining trivia to keep everyone guessing and amused.  All the wines are concealed from view, so no peeping!  Go on, why not give it a go – have a look at the DIY range here>

Hi everyone,

We hope you are all staying safe and well.  The sun’s out and the rosés are in stock!Food Bank Donations 2020

We continue to deliver wine locally and across the nation and reiterate we are taking every precaution under the sun.  Don’t be surprised when you see us ring on the doorbell and do a runner – we are conscious of helping you stay safe as much as ourselves.

FOODBANKS NEED OUR HELP – Today see’s us launch our small but important contribution to the community.  You may have heard in the news that foodbanks are desparately struggling at the moment.  We want to help and are asking all of our customers to dig deep and contribute wherever they can.

When we deliver your wine to your door (London/Surrey only), we’ll collect anything you can spare.  Just leave your donations on your doorstep and we’ll collect and deliver it on to the Wimbledon foodbank.
There’s no pressure, just anything you have spare.
An update on items needed from the Roehampton Community Box team:

Roehampton Community Box – Food List for collections/ donations

All food needs to be in-date.

  • orange/blackcurrant squash.
  • Tea
  • caster sugar
  • cereal
  • Porridge
  • Bread
  • Jam/ chocolate spread etc
  • bagels
  • Pitta
  • Wraps
  • Cheese Crackers
  • Cheese triangles
  • Tinned Tuna
  • Bake beans
  • Tinned Tomatoes
  • Bolognese pasta sauce etc
  • Spaghetti hoops
  • Tinned vegetables
  • stock cubes
  • Soup
  • Lentils
  • Couscous
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Flour
  • Noodles
  • Ketchup
  • Dried Fruit
  • Oil
  • Biscuits
  • Snacks/ treats
  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Fresh fruit and veg that will last such as:
  • apples, bananas, oranges, carrots, onions, garlic and potatoes.

 

Wimbledon’s food bank requests:

The foodbanks are in particular need of any of the following :
  • UHT Milk
  • Tinned Fish
  • Tinned Meat
  • Ketchup!
Less urgent but still needed:
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Noodles
  • Tinned Tomatoes / Pasta Sauce
  • Baked Beans, Spaghetti Hoops
  • Tinned Veg
  • Tea/coffee
  • Tinned Fruit
  • Biscuits
  • Fruit Squash
  • Custard / Rice Pudding
  • Instant Mash
  • Biscuits
  • Toiletries

That’s it for today.  Stay safe everyone and don’t forget the rosé!

As I listen to the latest updates on the radio this morning, I wanted to keep you fully aware of Hannibal Brown’s continued services.

Whilst all of our events have been cancelled for the foreseeable, Hannibal Brown is a little more fortunate than many business – online businesses have been swamped over the last couple of weeks and we have felt this too.

In the midst of all that has been happening, we have had a website upgrade which is now fully operational.  It is clear, however, that the internet is overloaded nationwide, so please be patient when processing your orders with us – you may notice that the response time is slower than usual.

We will continue to do our absolute utmost to maintain our service levels, ie. deliveries within 1-3 days across mainland Britain.  But please be aware that we will be simplifying our range for the coming months as certain wines become unavailable.  As such, you can expect a little disruption and we may need to make substitutions from time to time.

On a more positive note – we have just introduced some new lines for the spring and of course the rose season is almost upon us – hoorah!  Not forgetting our Personalised Wine Design service, which is ready when you feel the need to put a little cheer back in someone’s step – a personalised bottle of wine does wonders for putting a smile on someone’s face.

NOTE FOR  LOCAL DELIVERIES – if you find yourself in need of any essentials, then please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will endeavor to help you.

We reiterate that our office and vehicles are being continually deep-cleaned and the team are following strict hand sanitization at all times.  Our couriers are also following all guidelines.  They will not request a signature and will retain a minimum 2 metre distance at all times.

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Pamela, Jude and Hannibal

Just an update from the team at Hannibal Brown to say that whilst we are sad to announce the cancellation of our Spring Wine Event (destined for 2nd April), we are quietly optimistic that we might be able to go ahead with our summer event in late June/early July.  Of course, we will let you know in due course.

In the meantime, you can be assured that our wine retail business continues.  Our office has had a deep clean, as have our vehicles and our dedicated couriers, and we have instigated on-going measures to keep us and you as safe as possible.

Should you wish to buy wine from us, our delivery service as normal.  But we won’t be asking for a signature upon delivery and we will be keeping a minimum 2 metre distance apart.  Packing is all being carried out using hand sanitiser and gloves.

We hope that you will have the confidence to purchase your wines from us in the coming weeks and months.   There are so many great wines to choose from these days, and our portfolio continues to emphasise organic wines as a healthier option.

Stay safe and healthy and feel free to give us a call anytime – we always have time to chat about wine – 020 3876 8008.  Best wishes, Pam & Jude.

When someone recently mentioned that we were nearing the end of yet another decade, it made me think back to the weather variations of recent years – and of course how that has impacted on grape harvests across the planet.

As I write, we’ve just witnessed horrendous wild fires in Australia and the USA, both within frightening proximity of vineyards.  In Europe, we are experiencing extraordinary rainfall – let’s hope that most wineries managed to pick their grape crops ahead of the floods.


The thought of older vintages gone by got me thinking about the virtues of allowing wines to age substantially before drinking.  It goes without saying that 99% of wine is sold almost as soon as it is bottled – such is the need for wineries to get paid.  But those lucky enough to experience older wines will know that holding off drinking your wine and cellaring it for a number of years really does pay off.

Consider our 2002 Riesling from Pierre Frick in Alsace – it’s a wine that’s nearly 20 years old, but you wouldn’t know it, such is it’s freshness.

Yes, the colour has turned deep golden and the primary fresh apply character has mellowed into a honeyed characteristic.  But this style of mature wine has globules of honeyed character, making it potentially perfect with next month’s turkey!  The great thing about well made Riesling is the acidity – a good acidity gives wine half a chance to age for years and years.  The result is we get to enjoy an altogether different but heavenly wine experience.

Visit Hannibal’s Grotto for plenty of wine gift ideas this Christmas.

Today sees the launch of a new listing for us from a super producer, based in the stunning Paarl region of the South African Winelands.

Anyone who has taken time to visit the wineries of the Western Cape will know that the region is arguably one of the gems of the wine world.  My first venture to South Africa was in the Year 2000, when sanctions had only recently been lifted, and expertise was joined with excitement in the development of their wine industry.  Throughout the apartheid era, a co-operative (KWV) monopolised the industry, and whilst volume was not inconsiderable, quality was lacking in most areas.  Insufficient funding to sustain wineries, poor winemaking and often lack of hygiene were all contributors to a nation’s wine industry that was lagging way behind the buoyant Aussies and Kiwi production that we have come to love so much.

Those days are in the past, and South Africa these days is well positioned in the everyday, less expensive category, right up to the best of the boutique range.  And we Brits can’t get enough of them.  I for one am amongst their #1 fans – how a country could turn an industry in such a short space of time has to be admired.   Visiting those Winelands time and again is a joy that everyone who has a penchant for wine and travel should explore.  (Give me a shout if you want any advice on where to go.)

Our latest additions – a white and a red known as Jonty’s Ducks have a delightful story.  Organic is their middle name – just watch this video and our web-footed friends and you’ll be instantly charmed.  As for the wine, well if this isn’t worth a look, then….

Find the wines here>

 

 

We took time out today to consider the importance of a consistent message throughout Hannibal Brown’s ranks.  We all know how critical it is in any business to maintain a steady hand on the tiller whilst allowing the business to gather momentum and steadily move in the direction of success.  So today, we practised singing from the same hymn sheet and in spite of the continual distractions around us, with the right nurturing, coaxing and down-right discipline, we are now all perfectly aligned.  Happy Red Nose Day everyone!

Today is Pancake Day!  And on the drive into the office this morning, Jack (our student intern) and I discussed our preferred pancake fillings.  It was no surprise to hear this 19 year old’s response, “Nutella!” he declared.  Indeed, he’d already checked the shelves to see if there was any – sadly not.

My own favourite savoury option is asparagus tips, ham and grated Cheddar, along with a glass of zesty Riesling – it’s a proper feast.  (Jack, needless to say, doesn’t like asparagus, “too green”, he claims.)  

But when it came to the ultimate Pancake combo, there was no discussion – we both agreed that the ‘go to’ option was the classic lemon juice and castor sugar.  Isn’t it curious how some classics are timeless?  As for wine accompaniments, I’m not sure I want to drink anything other than a fresh, light glass of bubbly.  And so it is that today we run a quick competition through our social media – share a video with us of your best pancake ‘flip’, tag us @hannibalbrown on any of our social media feeds – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and make sure to use #pancakesandprosecco.  Post your entry BEFORE 23.59 tonight!  We’ll choose the best entry and the winner will be announced tomorrow and receive a bottle of Prosecco, compliments of Hannibal Brown.

A few months ago, we were approached by the Wimbledon based Jigsaw Players.   Unbeknownst to us, this group of highly talented musicians had discovered Hannibal Brown’s quarterly wine and food evening extravaganzas – and by all accounts, they’d been blown away! 

Well, we too were blown away – could this be fame at last for lil’ ol’ HB?  We already knew how much our guests enjoyed our evening events – always a relaxed atmosphere, always plenty of wines to taste and always delicious canape pairings on offer.  But how pleased we were when the Jigsaw folk asked us to consider putting on a joint event with them.  “What did you say?  Pair our wines with your great musical performances?  We’d love to!”

And so it has been that for the last few months, HB and Jigsaw have brought together their favourite wines and combined them with their favourite music classics… “Mozart and Merlot?  Really?”  Yes, really!  Next Friday 19th October, we’ll be at the new Merton Arts Space (Wimbledon Library) from 7.15pm to present the first ‘harmonious pairing’ of wine and music.  The Jigsaw Players have one objective – to make music accessible to all.  So as always, this event will be relaxed, entertaining, with plenty of opportunity to kick back (even tap your toes!) and enjoy good wine, good company and listen to our world-class friends, The Jigsaw Players.

Tickets are available at £30 and can be purchased HERE>  Any questions, give us a call on 020 3876 8008.  This is a first – don’t miss it!

Trade Stand Winners, Burghley 2018 – Hannibal Brown

Early in September, we took Hannibal off to exhibit at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials up in Stamford.  Burghley is THE most enjoyable event in our wine calendar and this, our fourth year at the event, was no exception.  Indeed, it turned out to be an incredible piece of success for us, with Hannibal Brown being awarded Winners in the Trade Stand Awards Competition.  Just this week, we proudly received our engraved winner’s plate.  It’s still safely wrapped in bubble-wrap until we bang a hole in the wall and hang it up.

So Burghley is over for another year, but Horse Of The Year Show at Olympia is looming large (17th to 23rd December).  Buy your tickets as soon as poss – this is a very, very busy show.  You’ll find Hannibal’s wines in the thick of the exhibitors, as always.

I could literally chew all of my nails to the quick, such is my anticipation of this year’s English wine harvest to arrive.

It’s pleasing to know that the UK in its entirety has had a summer of unprecedented good weather.  Even my web-footed friends from the rainy plains of Enniskillen, NI were pinching themselves as the mercury continued to rise to record levels.  Now that’s saying something!

For those of us living in the southern counties, the temperatures have, at times, been exhausting.  At Hannibal Brown HQ, our wines are kept cool and out of harm’s way.  Us humans, on the other hand, had the tricky choice of office air-con installation or simply lifting the foot off the red hot pedal a little – we chose the latter and allowed ourselves the pleasure of enjoying summer 2018.  (And in any case, the air-con systems were all sold out!)

England’s vineyards

Vines, like us humans, love extended periods of sunshine and warmth.  Grapes being grown for English sparkling wines in particular are thriving this year.  Compared to the Champagne region of France, England normally produces about a third of the wine grape crop – this year, there are suggestions that we could be on course for matching the Champagne level.  Ripening has been even and consistent since bud burst and if things remain as they are forecast (more sun, more heat), 2018 could yet prove to be the best wine harvest on record.

Of course, you never know with the British weather… a quick dose of hail in August or an angry tornado ripping through the Surrey Hills could put paid to everything.  So if ever there was a moment to call upon the good will of ‘Him upstairs’, now is the time.  Come on everyone, let’s drop to our knees and give ol’ Blighty a vintage to remember!