Expats set out to change taste of Britons in Spain – ‘difficult to get your head around’

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Ben Giddings and Matthew Desoutter are British expats who are currently based in Madrid. The pair met when they were both working for the British Embassy in Spain and they told Express.co.uk about their new project Simply Spanish Wine.

Matthew told Express.co.uk: “Both Ben and I have always been avid wine lovers on a kind of a personal level.

“And we were starting to realise there were a lot of really interesting things happening here in Spain.

“There are a lot of wines popping up from less traditional regions and there are a lot of new producers.

“There’s been a bit of a generational shift going on with younger generations of winemakers coming through.

“Instead of moving to the city, they were going back to their rural roots and resustitacing vineyards that maybe their parents or grandparents had found.

“There’s also been an influx of women winemakers which was quite interesting and very exciting for Spanish wine.”

He said: “We started to look at the extent that that was reflected back in the UK and if people were trying wines from beyond the traditional Spanish regions.

“We saw that wasn’t really the case. I think everyone is either obsessed with France and Italy or they’re drinking New World wines.”

The pair felt that British people needed to know more about the incredible diversity of wines on offer from Spain.

Matthew told Express.co.uk: “I think Spain has got the variety and modernity of new world wines but also the history of old.

“So about five years ago we set up a business to bring wines from small to medium sized Spanish producers to the UK.

“We work with wines that are made with care and reflect the winemaking traditions and customs in a particular area.

“So we’re talking about wines very often made with native grapes that are traditionally grown in that area but less known outside that region.”

After building their export business, the pair decided to launch a new project to introduce the expat audience in Spain to Spanish wines.

Ben said: “We’re very attuned to the UK market and the UK palate and we want to educate our audience on what Spanish wine is all about.

“Because we’re expats ourselves, we do see Spain with a bit of an expat mindset and sometimes there’s a lot of terminology that can be difficult for people to get their head round.

“Wine can also be quite regional in Spain so it can be difficult if you’re living in one part of the country to access wine from another region.”

The two are aiming to dispel the myth that people have to be experts to enjoy a range of wine.

Matthew told Express.co.uk: “I think as Brits we tend to think in order to drink wine or spend money on it, you have to be a connoisseur or an expert.

“So we wanted to create this opportunity for people to learn about Spanish wine and they can make a more informed choice to get something they’d like.

“There shouldn’t be a fear factor when it comes to buying wine. It can be an enjoyable thing rather than a chore.”

While the pair are cautious about recommending a favourite Spanish wine due to the extensive variety on offer, Matthew did want to put in a special word for Cava.

“Next time someone is reaching for the Prosecco, try a bottle of Cava instead which is Spain’s equivalent.

“In my view, it’s much better than Prosecco and it’s a fantastic sparkling wine that deserves to be known and drunk a lot more.

“There’s huge diversity in Spain and it’s great for people to work out which region of wine works for them and we’re trying to help with Simply Spanish Wine.”


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