Popular Suffolk pub re-opening as a wine shop
PUBLISHED: 20:00 14 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:33 15 May 2020
With all pubs and restaurants closed because of lockdown, it hard for those in the hospitality trade to make a living but the owners of one pub in Bury St Edmunds are using specialist knowledge to start a new venture
Times are tough for the hospitality industry whether its restaurants and pubs or theatres and cinemas. Social distancing and Coronavirus lockdown measures have made life virtually impossible but one locked down pub, The One Bull, in Bury St Edmunds, is making the most of their in-house expertise and re-opening this Saturday as an independent wine shop.
The venture is the brainchild of Roxane and David Marjoram who have harnessed their love of wines, along with wine specialist Jake Bennett-Day to turn The One Bull into the wine shop Vino Gusto.
Roxane said: “We completely understand why pubs can’t be open at the moment but it leaves us, as people who work in the hospitality industry, trapped between a rock and a hard place. Our money isn’t going to last forever and we thought about what we could do to try and move things on a bit.
“What could we bring to the people of Bury St Edmunds, what could we do to try and make things better for them and for us? And the answer was wine. We could open an independent wine shop in the One Bull, a place which can work in a socially distanced environment, and provide a friendly, knowledgeable service for those who want to have access to a wide range of top quality wines.”
She said that the pub already had an excellent reputation for its wines and it was a natural step to move into the wine retail market during the current lockdown crisis.
“The idea is that it will be a friendly, welcoming place where people can come in and buy their favourite wines or where they can talk things over with Jake or one of us and perhaps explore something new based on their existing favourites or desire to try something a little bit different.
“The idea is we’ll be here to talk things over and to advise. We want it to be a friendly environment. We have moved away all the pub furniture and fittings so it looks like a wine shop rather than a pub that isn’t being used.”
She said that they are stocking 140 different wines, so customers will have plenty to choose from. “We don’t structure it by country or grape – we use style sections to make it easier for you to choose and we’ve followed this in designing the layout of our shop. So, for example, if you like crisp, dry white wines then there’s a section just for you.”
In keeping with the pub’s heritage as a brewhouse as well as a tavern, which dates back to the 1500s, they are also offering their own Brewshed mini kegs, a selection of gins and spirits along with locally roasted coffee to take home.
“To keep everyone protected, we’re limiting the number of customers in the shop to four at a time so please don’t be offended if we ask you to wait outside. Doing this means that once you’re inside, you’ll have plenty of space to navigate round our displays. Please respect social distancing rules and keep two metres apart. Payment is by card only. We aren’t able to offer delivery.”
So what of the future? Will Vino Gusto, the wine shop, carry on as part of the business once lockdown is over and the pub re-opens? Roxane would like to think so. “It would be nice if it could carry on but at the moment we can’t promise anything because nothing is certain. The world is so changeable that we can’t predict or plan anything at the moment. No-one knows how long this virus is going to be around, whether social distancing will carry on after lockdown, what the rules and regulations will be. So while we would like it to continue to be part of our business, it’s difficult to second guess what will be happening tomorrow.”
Vino Gusto, at the One Bull public house, opens on Saturday May 16 from mid-day to 7pm. It will then be open Wednesday to Saturday at those times. Further information can be found on the One Bull website (theonebull.co.uk)
What do I look for in a wine?
Jake Bennett-Day takes a look at the world of wine
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“To me, a great wine is a number of things. There are so many variables in farming and winemaking that can have an impact on the resulting bottle. A wine should reflect the place from which it comes, should be produced and farmed in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way and most importantly, should be absolutely delicious. I like working with wines from family owned properties, whether new or classic, to unearth wines to suit all different palates and budgets.
“I think it’s super important that great wine is accessible to all, and part of that challenge is demystifying the product. At Gusto Pronto, we have historically categorised our wine list stylistically, to make hunting for that perfect bottle so much easier. We will take the same approach in our wine shop, and I will be on hand to make any recommendations! We pride ourselves on offering great value at every price point, with wines starting from £7.50, spanning to collectible bottles!”
Recommendations from Vino Gusto:
Ciaca Bianca, Mandrarossa, Fiano, Sicily, Italy, 2018, 13% - £11
fresh / perfumed / herby – One of Italy’s most interesting white grapes, showing great sense of place.
Goats Do Roam, Fairview, Roussanne/Viognier/Grenache/Marsanne, Paarl, South Africa, 2019, 13.5% - £10.50
peach / apricot / floral – Classic Rhone varietals masterfully reimagined as a fresh, delicate white wine…
Wild Sauvignon Blanc, Greywacke, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2017, 13.5% - £25
grapefruit / yeasty / rich – Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc, but not as you know it…
Beaujolais-Villages, Dominique Morel, Gamay, Beaujolais, France, 2018, 13% - £13
redcurrant / juicy / rounded – Visiting this winery with my father changed the way he thinks about wine…
Chianti Rufina, Selvapiana, Tuscany, Italy, 2018, 13.5% - £16.50
cherry / earth / spice – I am in love with this wine. A perfect match for pasta or antipasti…
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