Food & Drink 

Five minutes with Vernon Banham


He’s a well-known face in North Norfolk and recognised for his expertise on wine, now Vernon Banham joins Jarrold as the wine expert for The Deli and Wine Bar. We grabbed five minutes with him to find out more…

Hello Vernon, it’s great that you are now part of the team at Jarrold – can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

It’s a pleasure to be part of the Jarrold team! I’ve got over 30 years wine experience and have travelled the world discovering new and exciting wines, including a stint living in Portugal. Many people think that if you are into wine you are quite stuffy and full of jargon that they will not understand, but I like to engage with people on a relatable level. There are over 5,000 grape varieties and I like to act as a guide not to dictate what somebody should drink.

We know that choosing the right wine to go with your food can make a real difference – how does this work?

I certainly can. If you are preparing for a dinner party or you just want to know what wine will go with your dinner I can help you choose the wine that is right for the dish and for you. You can follow certain rules when it comes to food and wine matching, but your taste buds rule when it comes to what wine you choose not the label. Different people will prefer different wines with meat, fish, cheese and other foods so it is very much down to personal taste. You will find that your taste buds change over time. When you are younger you might prefer more sweeter wines and as you get older these become too sweet and drier wines are your preference. Women have more taste buds than men so they can taste more flavours in a wine – for this reason, sometimes, I wish I was a woman!

Is it possible to develop ones taste buds?

Of course. I have developed my palate over time and I have to respect it. For example, when I am working and tasting wines I cannot eat any strong flavoured foods such as lemon juice, chocolate, vinegar or spicy food as this will alter the true flavour of the wine. By trying different wines you can develop your taste buds and once you develop your palate the world can become a more flavoursome place. Even food and drink such as tea, coffee and cake can taste more satisfying.

We have heard on the grapevine that you have dined with nobility is this true?

Haha yes I guess so! I have dined with French nobility and German princes and some celebrities, but wine transcends social class and it is an even playing field so anyone can learn to enjoy wine. It’s also a subject that you are always learning as there are so many varieties and new ones are being produced all the time.

If we were to come and see you at The Deli how can you help us?

Along with helping you find the wines to go with dinner, I can help you broaden your horizon when it comes to drinking wine. Usually if someone comes to me and says that they usually drink a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, for example, I will introduce them to other similar grape varieties so they can, if they wish, try something new. Even other Sauvignon Blanc from different countries or different years can taste remarkably different as weather can really dictate the taste of a wine. But on the whole when it comes to wine there are no rules, so it’s best to trust your taste buds.  

Come and meet Vernon

Vernon can help you discover the full range of wines we have here at Jarrold from Wednesday to Saturday in The Deli on the lower ground.

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