By Ian Shearer

Fizz on Foot is an Eastbourne based business which like many others has been in hibernation for the last 12 months. However, with the restrictions hopefully coming to an end Ian and Penny Shearer are busy planning for a re-opening.

The business is a mix of all things centred around the wine and walking. There are guided walks with wine tastings; courses to learn all about wine; wine tasting evenings and wine and food pairing dinners. If you have a taste for wine – read on!

Off we go

The guided walk starts somewhere in the South Downs National Park, usually East Dean or Alfriston, with an expert guide who knows about the geology of the chalk downland as well as local history so your walk will always be made interesting and diverting. Following the walk and when you have worked up an appetite you will be refreshed at a pub along the way with a drink and lunch. The walks are matched to the fitness of the group so don’t worry if you don’t want to hike the ups and downs of the Seven Sisters – you can stroll along the River Cuckmere with an opportunity to see flora and fauna with as much hill or not as you feel like!

Once you have had your fill of lunch you will be taken to one of over 20 vineyards in East Sussex. An example would be a visit to Court Garden Vineyard in Ditchling that specialises in producing some of the best English Sparkling Wine. You will receive a tour of the vineyard to see the vines growing and hear just how critical the weather is to grape development.

Enjoy the rewards

You will see how the grapes are crushed and the huge tanks in which the wine is made as well as the details of how the bubbles get into the wine to make it sparkling.

Once you have appreciated the hard work that goes into the production of a bottle of sparkling wine – it’s too good to call it ‘fizz – ’you will have the opportunity to try it. The wine maker will guide you through four or five different samples and tell you all about what makes them different.

When you have enjoyed the rewards of your walk, and tour you will be taken by the Fizz on Foot minibus back to the starting point of your day. A fabulous day out!

Gentle pairing

Fizz on Foot tours will be available once again after 21st June 2021 or when all restrictions have been lifted.

If that all sounds too exhausting, or you aren’t an enthusiast for the great outdoors why not take the much gentler option and join a wine tasting or wine and food pairing dinner. These events are hosted in Eastbourne at one of our seafront hotels or a local restaurant. The wine tasting evenings are for those of us who walk along the wine aisle in our local supermarket and feel lost and even intimidated by the huge choice. How do you choose a bottle of wine – by the fancy label, a name you can hardly pronounce, a colour you have no idea whether it’s good or not, or just by price?

Tell you a story

Fizz on Foot choose the wines and you come along to taste. Their wine expert will tell you a good story about the wine and why it looks and tastes as it does – if you like it that’s great, if you don’t, well try a different one! There are four or five to try and each is accompanied by a little tasty morsel of something delicious to accompany it. It is a tasting so it’s best to have your dinner before you go as there is no meal included. The evening is relaxed and friendly and a good opportunity to meet people who are genuinely interested in wine.

Widen your knowledge

The other alternative is to join a food and wine pairing dinner – a more leisurely affair with a three course meal and a different wine to accompany each course, including a glass of sparkling wine to greet you on arrival.

The aim is to widen the knowledge so the walk down the wine aisle is more of a treat than a trial!

To finish

And finally once you have been introduced to the delicacy of different wines you may even like to learn more by taking part in a Wine and Spirit Education Trust course. Fizz on Foot’s wine expert Victoria South is a great tutor and will explain all you need to know to gain a Level 1 or Level 2 qualification. What about offering this as a gift to someone you know who has a ‘thirst ’for such knowledge!