English wine stirred, not shaken, at Mixology launch

Brighton-based Mixology Group launched its purpose-built venue for training venue for bartenders, mixologists; barbacks and waiting staff with a significant tasting of English still and sparkling wines presented by the South East Vineyards Association.
Mixology Group, a collaboration between directors, Myles Cunliffe, Tim Carroll and Zoe Cunliffe, with a combined experience of over twenty years at the forefront of the global drinks industry, launched its new venture with a tasting of 18 wines, reflecting the trio’s interest in local production.
Director Myles Cunliffe says: “We formed Mixology Group over 18 months ago concentrating on working with large catering companies in London, supplying bartenders to private parties or for large scale events. We opened the school as there is a distinct lack of training facilities outside of London. We hope that by offering a range of courses for consumers and industry we will help to raise the profile and skill set of the service industry.
“The close proximity of the vineyards to Brighton means more and more people are being exposed to English wines, you simply have to drive out of Brighton a number of miles and you are confronted by a number of vineyards which I think helps to make the “English” wines more accessible and a bit more real. There are a number of specialist off licenses championing the English cause, but even the mainstream supermarkets seem to be jumping on the bandwagon with Waitrose stocking Plumpton Sparkling as well as a few other well-known Sussex brands.”

Not enough known

The tasting was held with wines presented by the South East Vineyards Association. Morfurd Richards of SEVA, Tom Jones of English Sparkling Wines, Stuart Graham of Plumpton College and Bolney Estate sales account manager Stuart Barford also attended the event.
Fifteen people, including a member of the local press and a press photographer, attended the event.
Cunliffe says: “They were keen and curious as we had an excellent selection for people to try and it has generated enough interest in the Brighton community that we will be hosting another event in the near future.

“Unfortunately not enough is known about the great sparkling wines that are being produced [in England] but we always try to recommend English products to our clients. However it is the well-known French brands and a cost factor that keeps our clients from choosing these wines.”

The Mixology Group tasting venue has four dedicated cocktail stations and a library of spirits from around the world. It is available for private hire to host an event; however it is the trio’s combination of consumer and industry courses that sees the space being used to its full potential.

One for all

Plumpton graduate Cunliffe’s appreciation of English wine is on a par with his career to date: “I started at Plumpton college in 2003 and finished in 2005 where I completed the HND in Wine Studies and started my WSET Diploma. I have been bartending for over 12 years now, working for a number of different bars including Soho House Group, Harvey Nicholls and Blanch House in Brighton. I left full time bar work to concentrate on training future bartenders working with a number of training companies. I have travelled extensively training bartenders around the world most notably Abu Dhabi, Antigua, Lithuania, Namibia and South Africa.”
Fellow directors Zoe Cunliffe and Tim Carroll have brought skills to the Mixology Group: Zoe has a back ground in recruitment and hence heads up the events and is the training co-ordinator for the group while Carroll is the group’s operation specialist, having set up and run bars all over the UK for the last 10 years.