Winter Wonder

I love this time of year, or I should I say I love this real winter weather. Growing up in the North East of Scotland I remember winters being cold and full of snow. Having spent many years as a seasonnaire I got used to a guaranteed white Christmas so since coming back to the UK I have missed the cold crisp winters of my youth and of living abroad. So, in spite of the standard English panic over frost and the terror that a snowflake on the road seems to cause (a friend got charged double for her taxi journey the other day because it was snowing), I love this weather. Even when I have to get up at 5am and experience the chill of -3.5 degrees as I set up for an event!

As you can imagine, this is an extremely busy time of year for Grape with lots of village Christmas events and Christmas markets. So, up until now, I haven’t really stopped, this week being particularly frantic with the fabulous Christmas Markets at Horsham at the weekend and a mid week Christmas extravanganza at the Shepperton Big Tree Night on Wednesday. However, after leaving the day job mid afternoon with the aim of rushing home to get ready for tomorrow and carry out numerous other tasks (related to my other job) the last few weeks seem to have passed me by.

Crisp, frosty mornings and wintery afternoons scream out to be enjoyed! Wrapped up in lots of layers with a cosy hat and gloves, it is wonderful to take a stroll by the river. Particularly knowing that you have the perfect excuse to come home and enjoy lots of rich mulled wine, packed full of cloves, cinnamon and other Christmassy spices.

If you want to try Grape’s, increasingly famous, mulled wine come down to Shepperton for the Big Tree Night tomorrow, or you can find us in the Carfax by the Bandstand in Horsham every weekend from now until Christmas. Can’t wait to see you!

Full of Festive Cheer


The Autumn seems to have vanished without my noticing. All those hazy afternoons and the turning of the leaves has tragically passed me by in the busy rush of work and events as Grape has been touring the countryside visiting new locations and returning to old favourites.

We are now settling in to the festive season, having had our first Christmas themed event in the middle of November. The very wintery weather as accentuated the festive feel and we have lots of fantastic Christmas events and Markets coming up as we reclaim our usual spot in the Carfax, Horsham. If you have not yet decided what wines to enjoy on the Christmas table come and find us and we can help you find the perfect selection of wines to fill the season with festive cheer, from fantastic English fizz to rich full bodied reds adn everything inbetween. Find out more about one of my favourites below.

New Wine for Winter

We have a fantastic new wine on the bar and it is the perfect winter warmer.

This rich Old Vine Zinfandel comes from the Smoking Loon Winery, named for Don Sebastiani’s love of cigars and his fathers passion for water fowl. They follow the premise that great wine doesn’t need to take itself too seriously. They search out the best grapes of the vintage to create wines with distinctive fruit & rich oaky notes.

The Old Vine Zinfandel is no exception, with velvety ripe bramble fruit, smoky notes, vanilla and baking spices. Reminiscent of tasty fruit crumble and custard.

Bank Holiday Wines

It has been wonderful to have some time to myself this Spring Bank Holiday. I am currently, whilst getting my business of the ground, living at home with family. For those of you who have forgotten the joy of this experience, it is not the same as flat sharing with relative strangers. One evening meal is cooked and we eat together, en famille, One is expected to spend time together, and the activities must be shared and thoroughly discussed. So having done my morning paperwork and run my errands for the day I came home to find that everyone had eaten and disappeared on their own errands whilst I had been out and I had the freedom to prepare my own lunch with all the things I like. Hoorah! I raided the fridge and the back of the cupboard with gusto seeking out all the normally forbidden gems. I discovered spaghetti and I mean the real stuff not the weird gluten free stuff (one family member is Coeliac i.e. Gluten Free) which, no matter how much you say otherwise, does not taste the same. I found a host of fresh herbs and selected the parsley, a herb despised by my sister, and plenty of black pepper, also much hated. I then threw together a quick Spaghetti Carbonara packed with everything I usually have to forgo, Heaven! .

There is nothing tastier than, a slightly imperfect, home made dish made with all the usually forbidden ingredients that you only get to enjoy when everyone else is out (this never happens!).

To round it off, the only way to make a great meal perfect, a glass of wine. But what to choose? I had about a glass and a half of Pharos Rioja Blanco left. This full flavoured wine from the Sonsierra region of Rioja is tasty and rich with lots of ripe fruits and dates but I wanted something a little lighter. Or what about the half glass of Kono New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. This particularly citrusy option which tastes like pink grapefruit is always a favourite, but perhaps and little too crisp for the creamy pasta sauce and the smoky bacon and also, only half a glass??. The wine I went for was a great fresh rosé from the Camargue in the south of France. Cheval Gris is a blend of Granache and Carmenere and has a light sherberty acidity that went beautifully with the salty creaminess of the Carbonara. With flavours of sweet, ripe white peach and mandarine with a touch of cherry, I sat back and enjoyed a moment of pure bliss…. until the family started trickling through and asking ‘is this gluten free?’ and ‘why did you have to put parsley in it?!!’.

A Celebration of All Things English..

A Celebration of all things English
English Festival, Horsham 6th-7th May 2017

This is two whole days of celebrating all the things that make England unforgettable. Roll out the Morris Dancers, Classic Cars, Lively Music and the incredible Street Food that we are so well-known for.

Now, I may be Scottish but I can appreciate the wonderful things your can find South of the Border too! So, I will be there with The Grape Outdoors in our usual spot near the bandstand at the Carfax Market Place. In honour of the occasion, along with my usual fabulous wines, I am bringing along some incredible English wines from Greyfriars Vineyard, just along the road near Guildford. Mike & Hilary Wagstaff have a beautifully crafted selection of English wines focusing around the classic champagne varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier. We will have Greyfriars non-vintage Classic Cuvee, The Sparkling Rosé Reserve as well as something a little different, their beautiful Pinot Gris and Fumé. How better to celebrate all things English.

To find out more about the event head over to the Food Rocks Website of to the English Festival Facebook Page.

If you are interested in finding out more about the wines that we will have with us on The 6th & 7th please get in touch:

Horsham Markets

The Grape Outdoors was over the moon to start up the new season at Horsham at the Carfax market yesterday. The glorious sunshine and fantastic live music gave us the perfect setting for our lovely wines and the ideal opportunity to introduce once again the highly popular ‘Hugo Spritz’, AKA Grape’s ‘Spring Spritz’- a delightful blend of prosecco, elderflower, sparkling water and fresh mint.

It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces and many new ones too. A great time was had by all and we can’t wait to be back. Grape are aiming to be at the Horsham Market on the second Saturday of the month so don’t forget and make sure to come down and enjoy and lovely glass of wine along with the fabulous live music always playing on a saturday afternoon at the Carfax, Horsham.

We will keep our fingers crossed for another beautiful sunshiney day

For more info on Horsham Markets click here

Joy Festival – Joy Festival

Grape is delighted to be attending Joy Festival this year again.I am particularly excited about the venue, the stunning Groombridge Place, AKA Pemberley for the Jane Austin/Colin Firth enthusiasts amongst you.

The music line up is fantastic and we can’t wait to see you all there.

We are going to have a great selection of old and new world wines and our refreshing Hugo Spritz. We also be doing some mini tastings throughout the weekend, 4 wines for just £2. Space is limited for these so drop us a message if you are interested either by email info@thegrapeoutdoors or via our facebook or instagram pages.

We will see you there!

Joy Festival is an innovative, eclectic & unique festival that brings together the latest trends in creative shopping, gastronomy, music and lifestyle

Source: Joy Festival – Joy Festival

Heritage Day 2016


Finally, The Grape Outdoors is very pleased to present its brand new website. To keep up to date with our news and happening and find out when our next events are going to be and where to find us, keep a check on our site, or follow us on facebook, twitter or instagram to make sure you will always be able to find a great glass of wine!