Members’ Choice Pioneer Pinot Grigio: A new Co-op wine selected by votes!

A few months ago I voted for something close to my heart.  No, not a general election, or even Brexit (though obviously I voted in those and my heart sinks at the memory) …. but for a wine.

I cast my vote for the style, look and feel of a new wine to be created by members of the Co-operative Society.  Six months later, this democratically designed wine has appeared on the shelves.

People were asked to vote for the grape (the choices were chardonnay, pinot grigio and a chardonnay-viognier blend) and later its name and then the label design.

Pioneer Pinot Grigio
Members’ Choice Pioneer Pinot Grigio

The Members’ Choice Pioneer Pinot Grigio (£6.99, 12% abv) is now born. The name Pioneer was selected as a reference to the pioneers of the co-operative movement; and the bear label because it references the Californian wine, as the bear appears on California state’s flag.

What of the wine? It has light aromas of pear, lychee and apple, with more of the same to taste. It is lacking intensity in flavour or acidity to make a memorable impact when you taste, but hey, it’s pleasant enough. 

Joseph Turner, wine buyer at the Co-op said: “Listening to the aspirations and passions of our members and finding ways to meet their needs has always been at the heart of Co-op and I believe the first member wine launch takes this to the next level. Being Co-op is all about working co-operatively as a better way of doing business and I am absolutely thrilled that over 3,000 members were actively involved in helping to shape this product.”

Win a case of Members’ Choice Pioneer Pinot Grigio

The Co-op is marking the launch of the new wine with a special competition. Pop down to your local Co-op, pick up a bottle, take a Pioneer selfie (that’s you and the bottle of wine!) and share on Twitter using #CoopJoinIn. Terms and conditions here.
Competition closes November 9, 2017

Greenall’s Sloe Gin:Try these four warming winter cocktail ideas with new gin

Greenalls Sloe Gin cocktails

I visited Greenall’s Distillery and met Master Distiller Joanne Moore who has crafted a gin which can be sipped on its own (I did that) or enjoyed in a cocktail (I did that too).

Greenall’s Sloe Gin (RRP £18,,  26% abv) is a new kid on the block just in time for frosty nights and frosty toes.

The nose is heady with almonds and cherries – it reminded me of those little Mr Kipling slices.  My tour was punctuated  with some tasty sloe gin cocktails. created by Greenall’s gin curator Alix Walker.

Here’s some of them:

Greenall’s 1761 Royale

You need: 25ml Greenall’s Sloe Gin; 50ml prosecco; a blackberry to garnish and sprig of rosemary. Make it: Pour the fizz over ice in a coupe glass. Lightly bruise the rosemary then drop in the glass.  Slowly pour in the gin so it sinks to the bottom.  Sip and occasionally stir with the rosemary.

Greenalls Sloe Gin
Greenalls 1761 Royale cocktail

Greenall’s Edward’s Breakfast

You need: 50ml of Greenall’sSloe Gin, ginger ale, lime wedges. Make it: Fill a rocks glass with ice and pour in the sloe gin. Squeeze and drop in the lime wedges. Top with ginger ale.
(As you can see, this was perfect with canapes)

Greenall's Sloe Gin
Greenall’s Edward’s Breakfast

Greenall’s Sloe Time

You need: 50mls Greenall’s Sloe Gin, 150ml cloudy lemonade, sprig of thyme, lemon slice. Make it: Fill a tall glass with ice, pour in the sloe gin. Slowly pour in the cloudy lemonade or (lemon tonic water). Garnish with a sprig of thyme and a lemon slice.

Greenall's Sloe Gin
Greenall’s Sloe Time

Take It Sloe Toddy:

You need: 50ml Greenall’s Sloe Gin, 100ml cloudy apple juice, 50ml orange juice, two cloves and a cinnamon stick. Make it: Pour the gin into a cup then gently warm the  apple juice and orange juice with the cloves and cinnamon stick. Carefully pour into the cup. over the gin. Garnish with an orange wheel and a cinnamon stick.
(I forgot to take a picture #doh …but here’s one the Greenall’s team prepared)

Greenall's Sloe Gin
Take It Sloe Toddy

Follow Greenalls Sloe Gin ideas via the Twitter hashtag #takeitsloe

How Greenalls Sloe Gin is made

Joanne Moore has followed the traditional method of gin-making at Greenalls; there’s a basic secret recipe known only to Joanne and the master distillers before her; then the sloe berries are added and mixed by hand. The maceration of the berries in the gin takes eight weeks. The original gin is based on eight botanicals  – juniper, coriander, angelica, orris, almind, cassia bark, lemon peel and liquorice root. Discover more at