Share your bath with your grapevine

watering cansIf the continuing sunshine has persuaded you to have a go at planting your own grape vine then you'll pleased to hear an Australian study has found a way for you to not only beat this summer's inevitable hosepipe ban (it’s bound to happen despite all those winter floods) and save money on your water bills too: filtered wastewater saved in a water butt is healthier for vines than mains water straight from the garden tap.

Read more: Share your bath with your grapevine

Wine or a nice cup of tea?

pancakesAs you squeeze the lemon juice over your pancakes tomorrow will you be contemplating an accompanying glass of wine or a nice cup of tea? Wine isn’t the natural partner of choice for the traditional Shrove Tuesday meal because lemon and the necessary lashings of sugar will almost stop the taste buds registering anything – unless the wine is even sweeter or more acidic than each of the pancake toppings. So what wine, if any, matches these criteria?

Read more: Wine or a nice cup of tea?

Not water but wine

Welsh dragonHaving the nickname 'David The Water Drinker' tells you all you need to know about the Welsh patron's saint view on alcohol. But that hasn't stopped Wales' twenty-two vineyards getting on rather nicely without his blessing. From the far south in The Vale of Glamorgan right up to Anglesey, vineyard sales are flourishing. So why not join in the celebrations this Saint David's Day on Saturday and open a bottle of Welsh wine.

Read more: Not water but wine

Red wine for women

woman in red wine dressFinally scientists have finally found something to celebrate about the female condition. It seems women who drink wine put on fewer pounds than teetotallers of the same sex. So you can tuck into a couple of glasses of wine every night and still stay slim. There are a couple of provisos: limiting yourself to drinking two glasses a night and those glasses should contain red wine.

Read more: Red wine for women

Say 'I love you'

heart glassThis Valentine’s Day rather than the usual box of chocs and bottle of wine, why not present your loved one with a bottle of wine that tastes of chocolate? To find those cocoa nuances you’ll need a full-bodied red from the warmer parts of Europe, South America or California.

Read more: Say 'I love you'

Wine improves the quality of life

woman drinks roseRegular alcohol intake, of the moderate sort, improves the quality of life in middle-aged adults declares the latest research findings investigating the link between alcohol consumption and health.

Read more: Wine improves the quality of life

Tasting, tasting

wine glassesIf these weekly columns have inspired you to organise your own wine tasting at home, then you'll need to get some kit together. Buy yourself some large wine glasses (cheap supermarket ones will do) for capturing any wine aromas released when the wine is swirled prior to sniffing and tasting. And to help you keep track of all the wines you taste why not use my free wine tasting sheet.

Read more: Tasting, tasting

Lower alcohol, lower calories

tape measureInevitably some of us will have put on weight over Christmas and, if like me, you not only cooked the food but ate it too then the waist-band button is probably straining a bit. One way of dealing with this post-Christmas excess is to reduce the daily intake of wine calories.

Read more: Lower alcohol, lower calories

Top Ten Must Have Wines For Christmas Day

brussel sproutsTop Ten Must Have Wines For Christmas Day this week. Because, if you’re like me, then you’ve been concentrating on the nosh side of Christmas rather than what wine to match with the roast turkey, the cold turkey, the turkey curry, the mince pies, the puddings, the nuts...yes well. So here are ten wines ranging from £4.49 for a stonking value Greek red to a posh sherry tasting pack at £30.25. And what these wines have in common is that they’re all well worth the money.

Read more: Top Ten Must Have Wines For Christmas Day

Top Eight Sparkling Wines of 2013

champagne frothTop Eight Sparkling Wines of 2012 this week. Which is better situation than in 2012 when there was only enough decent bubbly around to make a top five list, while in 2011 there was such a dearth of the decent stuff that a top sparkling round-up couldn’t be justified. So things are a little better this year. But while we’ve had a Top Ten Whites and Top Ten Reds, and even a Top Ten Under Six Quid, there still wasn’t quite enough tasty fizz this year to make a top ten list. So you’ll have to make do with a top eight instead. And here they are.

Read more: Top Eight Sparkling Wines of 2013