The Wine Shed at Stydd Gardens, Ribchester
PUBLISHED: 00:00 04 December 2018
A pretty cabin in the Ribble Valley has become a haven for wine lovers
While the popularity of wine has rocketed in recent years, for many of us it is a subject that remains shrouded in mystery. Our main point of contact often comes in supermarkets and, with a few notable exceptions, their shelves tend to contain mass produced wines largely aimed at people who shop by price.
Considering how much of the stuff we drink, we are surprisingly ignorant about what was once called ‘sunlight held together by water.’
But if you want to learn a little – or a lot – about wines or spirits, help is at hand in the outstandingly beautiful setting of Stydd Gardens just outside Ribchester. Here you will find the Wine Shed.
And that is just what it is – a shed full of wonderfully esoteric wines that you wouldn’t find in a supermarket or in many other UK outlets. For instance, when did you last see a bottle of wine from Canada?
But this is no pokey garden shed – it’s an upmarket cabin, prettily painted and with a suntrap veranda complete with a grape vine. Inside there are tables and comfortable chairs in a bar that serves delicious antipasti while you sample some of the 25 wines available by the glass. Meanwhile, one entire wall is filled, floor to ceiling, with around 250 organic wines from around the world, ready for customers to take home.
The Wine Shed is run by Nuala Wheeldon, a former financial director who spent many years working in the catering industry. She opened The Wine Shed around 18 months ago and then launched the Wine School in the summer.
‘There is a growing thirst for knowledge when it comes to wine,’ says Nuala, who has high level qualifications from the internationally recognised Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET). ‘People want to know a lot more about what they are eating. Why should there be any difference when it comes to drinking?’
The school can be used for informal fun days – anything from birthday celebrations to corporate days – where guests can take part in tastings while picking up tips about choosing wines. There are also gin master classes.
There is a more serious side too, where groups or individuals can gain WSET qualifications. Recent clients have included people wanting to gain practical knowledge before opening a wine bar.
‘One of our key attractions is the setting here at Stydd,’ says Nuala. ‘It’s beautiful; bathed in sunshine in summer and lovely in winters when the water in the fountain freezes but you are in a warm, cosy environment.’
The Wine Shed is at Stydd Gardens, Stonygate Lane, Ribchester, PR3 3YN. Tel: 07920 441110. Nuala can be contacted at NualaWheeldon@thewine-shed.com and you can find out more on their Facebook page at facebook.com/thewineshedstydd