By Alwynne Gwilt.
A few years ago I started making regular trips to France. Not just in the “booze cruise” style, but because my other half’s family live there. It has, over the years, inadvertently become a bit of a “booze cruise” each time, because we’ve discovered boxed wine: 5 or 10 litre boxes, all for less than £15. Now, most wine critics would shun my choice but I have justified it in this way: 1) it’s often surprisingly good, AOC rated and sometimes even organic; 2) obviously, it’s cheaper; and 3) it means I don’t have to haul back heavy bottles from Sainsburys every other day.
So, when I went to an event at Benares restaurant (pictured below) in Mayfair recently to celebrate a massive new wine and food festival called, logically, The Big Wine Festival, I worried the attendees would know my little secret. There were wine connoisseurs there, after all. They could smell the boxed wine goodness radiating from my skin.
As it turns out, I don’t think they knew (until now, that is). And as I sipped some rather delicious red wine, remembering how nice it can also be from a bottle, I learned just what this fantastic fest aims to be for Britain.
Happening in Reading in June 2012, the festival is set to be the largest consumer event outside of the Olympics with the goal of attracting 120,000 people. There will be wine representatives from all around the globe, along with food stalls featuring international cuisine, a cultural stage with performances from worldly groups, and a 5,000-seat arena where jazz, blues and soul bands will get down and boogie. And all this in a pop-up setting that will be there one week, and gone the next; like a modern day Brigadoon.
“But,” you might say, “that is still eight long months away! Where will I drink wine and eat great food before then?”
Pop a cork in it, that’s why Fluid is here. We’re specialists at finding places to drink in London, and vino is certainly a part of that remit.
First off, I suggest the rather fabulous and famous Gordon’s Wine Bar at Charing Cross. If you’ve not been before, you’re missing out. Hailed as the “oldest wine bar in London”, Gordon’s has been serving tasty tipples since 1890 in its dark, cozy, cave-like setting.
Outside of that, there is also the rather extensive list at Vivat Bacchus Restaurant and Wine Cellar in Farringdon, where guests can choose to wander the vaults, or sit back and relax with a glass of wine and some jazz every Friday night. To book a table at Vivat Bacchus use the booking form below.
And one can’t forget Wine Wharf, which is a part of the massive Vinopolis complex at Borough. Its comfy sofas, large range of wines, and tasty accompanying food menus are all just right for a lazy Saturday afternoon down by the riverside. Again, tables can be booked using the below form.
So, until the Big Wine Festival hits Reading in June, we here at Fluid hope you enjoy your wine all winter, whether from a box or bottle!
For more wine bar inspiration, check out the Top 10 wine bars in London.
To book at table at the Atul Kochar’s Michelin Star Indian restaurant, Benares, in Mayfair, use the below form.
Tickets to the Big Wine Festival, happening from 7-10 June, 2012 in Reading, Berkshire, will cost £37 for adults and be on sale on the Big Wine Festival website this month.