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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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Wine festival begins at Cumbrian pub

A rural Cumbrian pub is drumming up extra business by hosting a wine festival.

Harry Berger photo
Harry Berger, of the Woolpack Inn

The county’s hospitality industry is normally at a low ebb between the end of the October school half-term holiday, when the clocks go back, and Christmas.

But last year Harry and Paddington Berger, owners of the Woolpack Inn near Boot in Eskdale, hit on the idea of a wine festival. It was so successful they are repeating the event.

It began yesterday and runs throughout the weekend.

There are 60 wines to taste, expert speakers, locally-sourced food to complement the wines and on Saturday a seven-course celebration dinner where a different wine is served with each course.

Mrs Berger said: “The Woolpack Wine Festival gives all sorts of people, locals and visitors, the chance to get together and put their taste buds through their paces.

“You can discover the difference between pinot noir and primitivo, in an unstuffy and informal setting, as well as sample some of the best local produce, like Muncaster crab, in a traditional Lakeland pub.”

Visitors to the festival pay a £5 fee, which entitles them to a glass of Beaujolais.

They then purchase tokens to enable them to taste as many wines as they want.

A token for three 50ml samples is £5, and for eight £10.

Many of the wines are sourced from local retailers such as Richardsons of Whitehaven, Egremont Co-op and Windermere Wine Stores, as well as supermarkets and the mail-order specialist Laithwaites.

The couple were encouraged by the response to last year’s inaugural event.

One customer wrote: “How fantastic to go for a meal and choose of a glass of wine from a selection of over 60.”

The Bergers have been offering two and three-night dinner, bed and breakfast accommodation packages for the duration of the festival.

Accommodation for Saturday is fully booked but places for the celebration dinner with wine matching are still available at £45. Phone the Woolpack Inn on 019467 23230.

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