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Like it or loathe it, Valentine’s Day is here to stay.  And as with every other established event in our calendar, global commercialisation is going the whole hog this year and ramming it down our throats.

I was in a (rather significant) store last week in the famed Oxford Street of London, where, to my horror, I discovered just about half of the basement floor had been allocated to all things Valentine-esque.  Mugs, cups, tea towels, furry animals, you name it – it was all there.  Not to do a dis-service to the manufacturers of those products, but, really?

Say it with…..

Then again, are we any better?  I have to be honest, Valentine’s is not an event that sits with much gravitas in the Hannibal Brown calendar of events.  Indeed, in all my years working in the wine industry, it hasn’t seen a great amount of activity.  Unless, of course, you are a restaurant.  In which case, I see many reasons to go out and share some swanky food with an equally swanky bottle of wine with the most important person in your life.

Not to mention our sister website – PersonalisedWineDesign.co.uk – which, at this time of year is surely worthy of mention.   Their special Valentine’s Day promotion offering a personalised wine couldn’t be more suited to this celebration.  They’ve been busy this week designing wine labels for customers who want something unique and memorable – and why not?  Hannibal supplies the great, reliable wine, and the designers do the rest.  Simples.

If you want to read more about personalising your wine for your loved one then hop onto the website at personalisedwinedesign.co.uk/valentines

How time flies… A year ago we experienced Burghley for the first time.  Set in the stunning rolling hills of Burghley House, just outside Stamford in Lincolnshire, this was an unexpected, wonderful discovery.  Ah Burghley – we only have fond memories of you. Pam at Burghley 2015

We camped in the grounds (as is the norm for most exhibitors) and were serenaded awake each morning with the ‘clip-clop’ of hooves trotting by.  For those not in ‘the know’ (as we weren’t), horse trialling commences early, very early.  Meaning that exhibitors are up and at it equally early.  I never expected to be serving customers at 7.45am, but at Burghley this isn’t unusual.  We paired up with our foodie neighbours, offering Hannibal’s wines with the finest smoked salmon, cheeses to die for and pies – ah, pies…

It surprised us last year that upon submitting our application to exhibit, we were then vetted in action before being considered, let alone accepted!  But the organisers of this event know what they are doing and simply get it right.   There’s no burger vans, no stinky chippy, no crass bouncy castles (although I do like a good bounce from time to time); it’s Swanksville personified.  Pristine gazebos, dazzlingly white and all matching, the exhibitors are hand-chosen to complement one another (not compete) and mindful of providing tens of thousands of visitors with possibly the greatest shopping experience ever (eat your heart out Dubai).

Visitors come from afar – lovely folk, polite, smartly dressed and oh, there’s not a bare torso in sight, oh no.  Our favourite ‘groupies’ from last year were the charming and glamourous Texan ladies.  They confided to us that they had flown over to watch their trainer’s horse compete, only to miss the entire competition owing to their having such a wonderful time tasting our wines in the sunshine!  Well, when the sun shines, everything’s just dandy!

We’ll by providing our personalised wine service on the spot so don’t forget to bring your photos.  We have a clutch of complimentary tickets to this year’s event – contact us now if you’re interested in attending.  But remember, just as we are vetted by Burghley organisers, we may have to vet you too…!!:-)

Burghley – 1st to 4th September 2016