The Story of the Sommelier.

As you know we chatted to Lewis about the vegan wine flight a while back, but we wanted to find out a little bit more about him, his work on the estate and his favourite grapes for 2019…

When did your interest in wine begin and where do you think it stemmed from?

When I was a teenager I worked at a restaurant, which had previously won regional wine list of the year. Therefore I had to become quite knowledgeable about wine rather quickly. I soon became interested in all the elements of wine and curating a wine list. It was a great first experience and gave me a strong basic understanding of the drink.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

Working in hospitality, the biggest buzz always comes from delivery of a fantastic service. I was always taught that to be a good sommelier isn’t necessarily about being able to be the best blind taster or having the most knowledge, it’s about being attentive to each guest and understanding their taste and needs. It’s crucial to exceed their expectations every time.

Where do you find your inspiration to create a wine flight?

I would say most of my inspiration comes from the ingredients included alongside the seasoning, acidity and sweetness of each dish. Once I’ve tasted the final dish, I’ll then have a couple of wines in mind that I think will complement the ingredients well. I like to use a grape which is similar in weight or contrast to each dish to make sure it doesn’t overpower the food.

One of my favourite pairings is blue cheese and Sauternes, this is because of the contrast of the sweeter wine really does compliment the salinity of the cheese, it’s the perfect pairing.

And how about the wine? What can you be found enjoying?

Red. Although white is a much more versatile food partner.

Can you tell us about some new upcoming grapes for 2019? Can we find these at Forge and what do you pair them with?

It can be difficult to predict trends, a few years ago everyone was crazy about Riesling, a grape which I still love and a wine that can be an incredibly complex and versatile wine but the boom just didn’t really materialise.

I think a lot of the trends may depend upon Brexit and pricing structures, I personally believe people may start to look at more unusual grape varieties and regions. For example we recently tried a sauvignon blanc and chardonnay blend from a French winemaker that had been crafted in India - it was like an incredibly ripe burgundy and was pretty interesting taste and texture.

And finally, what are your three favourite things about Forge?

First it’s all about the team. We have a great working relationship and we’ve all worked together for a while now so it’s like an extended family. Secondly, the opportunity; it’s fantastic to be able to work somewhere that has just opened as you become part of the whole story.

And finally, the freedom I’ve been given to work closely with local suppliers and producers. I have made many friends through these working relationships and it has opened lots of doors to discover and source a unique variety of wines for the restaurant.

An update from the Estate

Dear Friends & Family,
As part of our staged reopening on Thursday 23rd July, Middleton Lodge Estate will be implementing “contactless stays” in line with government social distancing guidelines.

We are finally able to welcome you back to the Coach House Restaurant! We will be opening the restaurant for limited sittings for non residents, PRE BOOKINGS ONLY for Friday evening, Saturday lunch and dinner, and Sunday lunch on the weekends of 10th-12th July and 17th-19th July. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for reservations. We are also able to offer Contactless stays for both weekends, and our hotel will be reopening full time from the 23rd July. Rooms can be booked here: Please be aware that going forward that ALL guests will need a reservation before coming onto the estate, and temperatures will be checked at the gate. It should go without saying but please do not come here if you have any symptoms or have been recently exposed, and please be mindful of other guests and staff. Table sizes and groups will of course be limited in line with current government guidelines.

What is a contactless stay?

Guests will be guided remotely through booking and check in prior to arrival. On arrival, all guests will have a temperature check at the new gatehouse, and be directed via a map to their private rooms. Each has it’s own private entrance and views of the gardens or parkland setting. Unwind in one of our fabulous roll top baths, with signature Noble Isle amenities proudly made in the British Isles. Order dinner in your room, or head over to our stretch tent in the Coach House courtyard for alfresco estate to plate at a distance. You might not see much of our staff, but rest assured they will be there, and available to help with anything that you might need.

If that’s not enough to tempt you, upgrades are available for rooms with hot tubs and wood burning stoves…

The great outdoors remains firmly open, and guests will have access to a selection of walking routes around the 200 acre estate and beyond. We also have our utterly beautiful Walled Gardens to explore (and are begging to be painted for any creative types - don’t forget your watercolours and easel!)

Our Mission

The Covid-19 outbreak continues to be a testing time for everyone, and we are delighted to be able to invite people back to our estate to share our beautiful Yorkshire countryside at a safe distance. The safety of all our staff and guests is paramount, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that people can come and feel safe and relaxed here.

Gift Vouchers

If you know someone who needs to get away from it all we do have vouchers available. You can boost the experience with dinner for two or a bottle of something delicious on arrival. Look out for special offers too on longer stays.

As always, Middleton Lodge Estate adheres to strict hygiene and safety guidelines. In addition to these we are taking extra precautions to limit interaction between staff and guests. We are also boosting deep cleaning practices. Though out of sight, the team will be available to assist guests with anything they might need during their stay via our new messaging service.

It should go without saying, but we do ask that any guests with any symptoms that could be attributable to Covid-19, or who may have been recently exposed to not come to the Estate. We also ask that you follow government guidelines for social distancing while you are here.

Thank you for your support during this difficult time, we have been so heartened with so many lovely messages from you all! We can’t wait to welcome you back.

Please take care and stay safe.

The Allison Family and Middleton Lodge Team x