If you thought that the coronavirus lockdown meant missing out on rarified wines only found in restaurants, you’d be wrong – and to prove it we’ve rounded up five restaurant wine specialists now offering home delivery to drinkers in the UK.
With news currently focused on the surge in wine sales from retailers as UK consumers are holed up indoors, it should be remembered that there is a whole sector of the drinks trade that is doing barely any business at all – and this concerns those who supply restaurants, all of which are closed to diners, even if some are offering take-away.
As those who love wine and eat out regularly will know, the drinks available in restaurants tend to be different from those on offer in retailers, with restaurant wines selected by sommeliers to offer diners something unusual, often chosen to follow a theme, while remaining complementary to the type of cuisine being served.
So, with the lockdown preventing wine lovers from going out and trying new drops in restaurants, it is easy to get stuck in a vinous rut at home, and end up consuming the same few wine types night after night.
Now, while there is of course great variation in the wine offered by specialist retailers, particularly the UK’s great wine merchants – such as Berry Bros and Justerinis – or the country’s diverse set of independent wine shops, there are still plenty of wines not on their lists.
Such wines are in fact only found in restaurants, a deliberate choice by the dining establishments and often the producers too. And, as a result, a set of UK importers and distributors have been set up specifically to bring in such wines and sell them to restaurants and bars only.
But with Covid-19 causing an end to all dining in the UK, these wine suppliers have no one to sell their wares too – and these are often a brilliant, specialist selection.
Thankfully, some of these businesses have, in an impressively rapid move, changed their operations to serve consumers during the lockdown.
This means that you – the home-based wine lover – can, from the comfort of your sofa, enjoy the sort of uncommon and delicious drinks normally only served in restaurants. And, in doing so, help keep the UK’s restaurant wine suppliers in business, and the wine estates they import in production.
Now, with such trade-only businesses unknown to the vast majority of wine drinkers, it’s hard for them to find a customer, so, in a bid to help them, we’ve listed five great options for you to try, allowing you to bring some of the restaurant wine experience into your lockdown life.