Vino Wines speaks to Dickins
With the launch of Dickins’ ‘Little Orange Book’, a select list of suppliers available at Rock House, we thought that it would be nice to introduce guests all over Edinburgh to one of our favourites. Andrew Lundy, the owner of Vino, spoke to Dickins about the inspiration for the business, the ethos and what makes a great glass of wine. There’s no-one that knows his booze better than Andrew!
What potential for improvement did you see in the closure of Wine Rack?
Independent retail requires you to be reactive to the market around you and also understand the needs of your customers. In a national chain, you don’t always have the ability to influence this and when you do, it can take a long time. The ability to select from a much wider source of stock let us get Thistly Cross Cider from our good friends, wines with a local interest and enjoy the birth of Craft beer and Scottish Gin.
Where did your love for wine start and how did you learn so much?
My families’ idea of a bottle of nice wine was perhaps from a creek somewhere in Australia, so it was meeting my now in-laws at 16 that really sparked my interest in the theatre and wine choice available. While at university, I got a part time job in a wine shop and it took off from there. We now have that very same shop as part of Vino, almost 20 years later! I think wine is like any other passion – you want to know more and that journey of discovering more is much of the fun. Seeking out an untried grape or subregion feels much like finding a lost vinyl to a record collector. Knowledge comes with training and exams but also from books I have a huge passion for old wine books and you really can, especially with France, find a wine book on just about anything.
What does Vino Wines offer guests that other shops don’t?
We can offer guests the opportunity to ask us for anything they want. This could be about a specific vintage from 1981, a wine they found in a hotel or just the wine that they enjoy from their local merchant at home. We will make every effort to find and source what guests are looking for, and if we can’t find exactly what it is they want, we will provide them with recommendations.
“Wine is bottled poetry.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson
What’s new on the drinks scene in Edinburgh?
Paulozzi Lager from the Edinburgh Beer Factory has been a sensation since its launch back in December last year, customers keep coming back and raving about the taste. Daffy’s Gin has been a massive hit too even though they are not for shouting about the Edinburgh connection it is made and bottled in the city. For Guests, I would suggest the walk to Shandwick Place at the other end of Princes street is more than worth the while to visit the Edinburgh Gin Distillery and visitors centre, drink and even make your own gin!
Could you tell us about the meteoric rise in popularity of Scottish gin in the past couple of years?
Starting with Hendricks, getting on for 8 years ago, the quality and flavour category of Gin has been driven from Scotland I think. Now the huge number of Gins available gives you an almost unlimited choice from Shetland to North Berwick. The success of small production companies like NB Gin and the Electric Spirit Company, (130 bottles in the last batch ) has kept a real interest in the sector as new options arrive monthly. The unsung hero is the tonic, though, too often fizzy cheap tonic in with £40 gin. It makes a massive difference be it hand bottled in Scotland or shipped over from Germany we have a great selection to match different styles.
If you had a to recommend a favourite red and white ‘table wine’ for guests, what would it be?
Table wine for me is anything under £10, the choice here is huge and can cope with almost any menu. Firstly the white could be a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc but I’m going to suggest Conviviale Fiano from Puglia in Italy, dry and crisp with fresh peach, some spice and zesty citrus. For a red again I would be tempted by one of our many Malbec’s but actually, I’m going to go for the 60 Clicks Shiraz Mataro from Australia, black fruit bursts out if this wine and it is great with any kind of red meat.
What’s your advice for tasting and buying wine?
For tasting, I would suggest coming to see us in our Stockbridge store where we have an Enomatic wine tasting machine that lets you try 8 wines as fresh as the day the cork popped out. We keep it filled with the best we have to offer and it is always changing so you will get a new wine every time. When it comes to buying, ask, if you are in a store worth its salt the staff will be able to help you. I think for many the days of cellaring 12 bottles at a time have gone, I buy 3 bottles of wines I really like to lay down and rediscover in the future. The change is part of that journey wine takes you on.
We are very excited about your new venture…and can’t wait to hear more. Could you tell us a bit more about it?
We are taking a new space in a City Centre location and could not be more excited, join our mailing list and you might just get an invite to the opening in the Spring.
What do you love about Edinburgh?
I think this is a trick question, what is there not to love? The people firstly, a diverse and mixed bunch who never fail to entertain but always welcoming. The feel of the city is like a village at times and coming from a small town by the sea that is important to me, you can say hello to other people in the street. The culture drips from the city, out of every window and round every corner you can not escape art, music or the smells of great food and it is just there to be enjoyed. Like many Edinburgh is home and sharing your home proudly with visitors is a thrill, making sure that everyone goes to Mary Kings Close is a personal passion. Being home means it is where my family are from, my kids were born and where I met my wife.
Finally, where is your favourite place to enjoy a tipple in Edinburgh?
The Vino team love the Hanging Bat on Lothian Rd but I would say personally Cloisters or Bennetts in Tollcross.