A glass of sherry is a long established Christmas tradition in Britain, but a dramatic slump in sales over the last decade has led to a campaign to drum up support for the drink over the festive season. Ivor Bennett reports.
Think Christmas, and many in Britain think sherry, whether they like it or not. SOUNDBITE (English) UNIDENTIFIED MAN, CUSTOMER, SAYING: "I've got this connotation that sherry is about my grandmother, hiding a cheap bottle under the sink, and she'd you know have a little nip at the end of the day when no one was looking." But it seems even grandma's stopped drinking the stuff. Sales of the Christmas tipple have more than halved over the last decade. Triggering a campaign to save 'Santa's sherry'. Lesson 1 - it doesn't have to be sweet Lesson 2 - even the sweet stuff, we've been drinking all wrong. SOUNDBITE (English) JOHN FRANKLIN, COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER, MENTZENDORFF WINE IMPORTERS, SAYING: "Surprisingly, and what should be quite good for British consumers, fish and chips is the perfect match for sherry because you have the saltiness of the chips and the fish and batter. Also vinegar that you put on it. And you've got the slightly yeasty, salty note of a fino, or a manzanilla, and it's like being by the sea." If you're really going to do it properly then sherry should be poured using a 'venencia'. This bar in London one of those trying to give it a new name. SOUNDBITE (English) TIM LUTHER, CO-OWNER, DRAKES TABANCO, SAYING: "Actually, the best thing for sherry, would be to lose the name sherry. And you know maybe just call it Amontillado. Call it the different styles: fino, manzanilla and just be known for that." Some won't need convincing... SOUNDBITE (English) UNIDENTIFIED MAN, CUSTOMER, SAYING: "I love it cold, especially in the summer. You can have a lovely cold glass of sherry. It's a really amazing aperitif." But others will be a lost cause, even at Christmas... SOUNDBITE (English) NICK WHITE, CUSTOMER, SAYING: "I've got involved, I've tried it, but it's not for me." And then of course there's santa, who might not like sharing.