Wine is many things to many people. But credible career path (or second career) isn’t often one of them. We set the record straight by talking to young people who’ve successfully made wine their career. And someone who made it their second career after defecting from finance (wise move). Plus, we share how we both got into wine.
Having worked up a thirst, we rustle up some student classics – spicy sausage pasta plus the easiest home-made pizza EVER – and line up a selection of value Aldi wines. (Spoiler: not all go down well but there is a great bargain to be had). Our Wine A-Z takes in biodynamics before Warren asks how to tell if a wine is corked.
“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done … I don’t think I’m the usual type but that’s what’s great: I don’t think there is a type.” Zoë Driver
“It felt from day one like a real adventure.” Jacob Leadley
The UK wine and spirit industry employs 358,000 people, with sales worth £22 billion (WSTA)
“If conventional agriculture is pop, organics is blues and biodynamics is pretty funky jazz.” Peter
Spicy sausage pasta
This recipe is super simple and one we made up ourselves – with a little help from the fabulous Jamie Oliver! It’s subtly spicy and full of tangy tomato flavours that, as ever, are a match made in heaven for the fresh basil, Parmesan and pine nuts. We tend to buy good quality dried-egg pappardelle, which is the ideal accompaniment, but if you’re on a budget then inexpensive tagliatelle is a good alternative.
Grill the pine nuts until golden brown and set aside.
For the sauce, pour enough extra virgin olive oil into a medium sized saucepan to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic and the red chilli (left whole but pierced 3 or 4 times with a sharp knife), as well as the chopped stalks of the basil, to the pan and cook over a medium heat for 1-2 minutes, shaking the contents around gently until the garlic just begins to sizzle.
Carefully tip in the tomatoes (they will spit as they hit the hot oil) before adding the red wine vinegar, ½ tsp of salt and a good twist of freshly grated black pepper. Stir everything together and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile chop each sausage into six pieces (we use kitchen scissors for this) and set aside. Warm a good glug of regular olive oil in a large, wide-based frying pan and add the chopped sausage. Cook over a medium to high heat, stirring regularly, for around 10 minutes until the sausage pieces are beginning to brown and caramelise.
When the tomato sauce is ready tip it over the sausages (leave the chilli in the sauce at this point) and stir to coat. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
Remove the chilli from the sausage sauce.
Serve the pasta in individual bowls topped with a large spoonful or two of sausage sauce, a generous amount of freshly grated parmesan, some roughly chopped basil leaves and a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a twist of black pepper.
Super easy puff pastry pizza