During the second lockdown, we finally had the time to implement some of the changes that we had hoped to make over the years – believe me when I say that when you are a family run business, the list of ‘things to do’ is endless and things just get pushed to the bottom of the list unintentionally because there is literally no other place for them to go when additions are made!
One of the changes that we made? The implementation of a sustainability orientated and dynamic wine list – a goal that we’ve had for a few years now. Our conversations with our central wine suppliers, Matthew Clark and Liberty Wines, fostered further introspection about how far we wanted to go, what we could achieve in what essentially was a one off and first time conversation and then how quickly we could nail down an exciting and comprehensive list that ticked all of the boxes of sustainability that we thought were key: biodynamic production, organic certification, suitability for vegan and vegetarian diets and staff/community welfare. Well, it took a couple of gos but once we got the juices going, it was surprising how quickly it all came together and, even more exciting for us, how many additional ideas came out of it.
Slightly in advance of our conversations about shifting our whole list to represent a sustainability ethos, we had been discussing some of the gaps in the market on Speyside and one of the central discussion points was around wine options – as passionate wine drinkers (because, you know, how can’t you be with so many wonderful options to choose from?!), we know that there are few options for going out to enjoy a really lovely glass of wine but also very few options for engaging in a conversation about wine and all of its wonder! So, Speyside Vintage was born: a wine club for those who love to drink wine. Full stop. No airs and graces, just genuinely good fun, interesting chat and phenomenal wines. We’re responsible for the venue, the food pairings and our partners in wine (rather than crime!) Liberty Wines are responsible for bringing the goods! It’s a partnership that has worked well so far and with events through until the end of the year (and many more planned for beyond), it promises to continue to be fruitful. If you’re interested, get in touch and you’re welcome to come along – it’s open to everyone and anyone.
Wines by the glass
We’ve always operated a ‘wines by the glass’ section that tends to remain the same throughout the tenure of the full list. Focused on price, it leans towards wines that are well recognised in terms of their grape varietal and that are suitable to either seasoned wine drinkers or those who drink wine but aren’t overly passionate about it. But this has felt, for a few years, like we were falling into well-worn patterns used in the industry and we had the opportunity to be innovative yet true to our principles of accessibility. So, we had even more conversations about wine (not a chore!), spoke directly with wine producers, stockists and those in the wider industry about how we could bring something to Speyside that would be interesting enough for veteran wine drinkers and those new to it too - whilst not breaking the bank! And that has led to a wine by the glass offering that we’ll change as and when the wines we buy in for it are finished so it’ll always be new, interesting and worthy of a glance and, more importantly, a sample!
Watch out for wines from L’Art du Vin, WoodWinters, Alliance Wine, Radford Dale and many more!