BinThinking

BinTwo MerlotCabSav - 200x105.indd

Jammy Git goes native…

Long-term followers will recall the release of our first edition “Jammy Git” – a fabulous Merlot made by our friend Mark Hellyar.  Newcomers to BinTwo might quite be wondering why my head has suddenly appeared on a wine label and how I could consider naming a carefully crafted wine something as off-the-wall as “Jammy Git”.  Allow me to explain…

In a moment of reflection I found myself pondering the circuitous route that led us into life in Cornwall and ownership of a rather nice little wine shop.  Whilst it’s true to say that we’ve worked hard and been willing to take a chance here and there (to take the plunge if you will) we’ve also been very lucky.  Lucky with some of the opportunities that arose at just the right moment and lucky with the people we’ve met along the way.  And the development of our “Jammy Git” wine range is a case in point.

The name “Jammy Git” is a playful nod to the serendipity that led us into ownership of BinTwo five years ago and the general, all-round jamminess that we have broadly enjoyed since.  Beneath the playful branding what Jammy Git wines have in common is a certain authenticity.  By which I mean they’re wines that I feel we have a genuine connection with.  We’ll have met the winemaker, visited the vineyard, understood their ethos.  Maybe even have had a small part in the development of the wine.

I may not always be able to tell you that only one or two barrels of the wine was made and we have them exclusively (although that has happily been the case so far) but I will be able to look you in the eye and tell you that I haven’t bought a blank bottled, mass produced wine and slapped our label on it in order to maximise profits.  They’ll always be good, honest wines.  Wines that I love that I think you’ll love too.  Wines priced fairly with no massive “own label” margins applied.  Wines that have been made by winemakers I believe in with an ethos I can get behind.  I wouldn’t put my name behind (or indeed my face on) anything else.

How do we find these wines?  Some people make a career out of searching the globe for small pockets of extraordinary wines.  We just seem to be lucky.  With characteristic good luck our first contender for a BinTwo “Jammy Git” wine presented itself to us on our first visit to a Bordeaux vineyard.  Jammy Git #1 subsequently flew off the shelves in just a few months.  We found the contender for our second edition of Jammy Git much closer to home….

On a chilly January morning we visited Knightor winery, right here in Cornwall, to taste some new wines for the shelves.  David the winemaker made an off-the-cuff comment about a blend of Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon that they had in development.  My curiosity piqued I asked where they were sourcing the grapes as those ain’t varieties that are grown in UK.  “Gloucestershire” came the dead pan reply.

Now, for context, I was born in Gloucestershire (just 15 minutes or so from where these grapes are grown).  So I feel qualified and permitted to say that we can be an eccentric bunch.  A lovely chap called Tim Chance grows these grapes under two enormous greenhouses in which he used to grow strawberries commercially.  He now works full time as a builder and grows grapes instead just for fun.  Because why not.  He also collects and renovates German half track armoured vehicles from WWII.  As I say, we’re an eccentric bunch.

Knightor, always up for a bit of an experiment, snap up all the grapes he can grow and have three vintages in different stages of development.  The 2016 is already on release as part of their range but they were scratching their heads about which direction to take with the 2017 and 2018 vintages.  Just for fun we started playing with blends in the winery taking samples of each vintage from barrel and trying different combinations.  What started as a bit of a geeky wine fun took on a different air when we hit on a blend that led to collective shared look… “hang on… we’re onto something here”.

With a bit more tweaking and refinement we settled on a blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon using 42% of 2018 (which had loads of lovely fruit but was lacking structure) 40% of 2017 (which had structure but was a bit lean and mean) and 18% of 2016 which, having spent two years in oak, added a bit more body, structure and complexity.

Winemakers are often reluctant to blend vintages in this way because, in some parts of the wine loving community, there’s a bit of a stigma around non-vintage blends so they can be hard to sell.  It’s ironic really as most Champagnes produced are non-vintage blends and are unarguably seen as premium products.  Go figure…

With the Champagne approach in mind we’ve focussed on getting the Jammy Git blend right first and foremost.  What’s the best wine we can produce from these three vintages was the exam question we set ourselves and we’re very happy with the results.  Light to medium bodied, fresh, juicy, bursting with red fruit flavours and a little hit of spice on the finish.  Just 12% abv and vegan friendly to boot!  We’ll be adding it to our terrace menu as a lighter summertime red and, by happy good fortune, we think it’s rather lovely slightly chilled.

So there you have it.  An English red wine made through chance and a spirit of fun using grapes grown in an eccentric manner vinified and blended into a vintage defying wine by curious innovators and brought to you by us because it’s fun to try news things.  All in all it’s very much a Jammy Git story..

Wrapped Christmas Gifts Shop 2017 - half size

Christmas orders and delivery…

Whether you relish or dread the approach of Christmas, we can all surely unite around one common ideal:  You DO NOT want to run out of wine… Do you?  

Of course you don’t.  Below I’ve outlined the key information relating to Christmas orders.

  • Although some stock will be available to buy on the day of our Christmas tasting, we’ll be placing our main orders with suppliers once we have received order forms from customers.  Ideally we’d like to collect these on the day of the tasting, but for those who can’t make it (and those who need a little more time to make a decision) we have a backstop deadline (backstop positions being very in vogue at the moment…)
  • 26th November is the last day by which you must submit your order for us to be able to guarantee that all of the wines you’d like will be available.  Orders can of course be accepted after the 26th November, but we may have to offer you some substitutes if we don’t have your preferred wines in stock.
  • The final date for submitting a mail order is Friday 14th December in order to receive delivery by Wednesday 19th December.  This is a couple of days ahead of the ParcelForce “final delivery” schedule just to be on the safe side.  None of us need the stress of missing wine in the final countdown to Christmas…
  • Local delivery dates for Christmas deliveries in Cornwall are Wednesday 12th, Thursday 13th and Friday 21st December.  But we’re trying to save the 21st for genuine, last-ditch emergencies as John, our regular delivery driver, will be on holiday by then.
  • Local delivery is free on all orders over £80 and national mail order is free on orders of over £250.  Otherwise mail order is £14 reducing to £10 for wine club members (although our very special Christmas Cracker Case comes with a fixed mail order price of £10)

That’s it.  All incredibly simple which probably means I’ve forgotten something important.  Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions and remember to order early and tick the most enjoyable Christmas “must do” off the intimidating and absurdly complicated “to do” list.

joe fattorini 1

Better ask Joe…

If you’re a fan of The Wine Show and found yourself thinking “that Joe Fattorini seems like a nice guy”, then I’m here to tell you that he really is!  We met Joe at a tasting last year, had a chat about the show and hung out for a while.  Friendly, chatty, knowledgeable and generous with his time – yep… definitely a nice guy.

Of course, that was his error as I set about stalking him on twitter and bouncing a few ideas off him which somehow ended up with him making the offer for me to email him a few questions to answer.  I can only assume he saw this as a cheaper alternative to taking out a restraining order.  Anyway, such was the quality of his answers I’ve decided to spin them out over the course of five newsletters.

In our last four newsletters we asked for his pointers about hunting down the best value in 2018, we tackled the contentious issue of natural wine, how you can get the very best out of your wine and Joe’s biggest gripe with wine merchants.  In this edition we talk about avoiding coded wine speak…

 

BOTH MikeHere at BinTwo we try really hard to avoid using wine-bore jargon in the way we describe our wines. But we’re not immune to the odd “pencil shavings” slipping into our notes and sometimes I fear I may describe things too plainly. I know we could do better. Any top tips on striking the right balance between describing wines credibly but in a user-friendly way?

 

 

 

joe fattorini 1You SHOULD use pencil shavings in your tasting notes. Especially if it actually smells of pencil shavings. I had a Crozes Hermitage at a restaurant (Blandford Comptoir- owned by super-sommelier Xavier Rousset MS) last week that absolutely reeked of black olives. You need to highlight these things. But… when you ask people what they like about a wine they pretty much never say “well, I like a wine that smells of pencil shavings and black olive”. They say things like “I like a big wine” or “a smooth wine” or “zesty wines”.

Texture matters much more than aroma for most people when they’re thinking of preference. I like to see how I can expand my lexicon of textures. “Velveteen” “sandpaper tannins” “lissom”. Also it’s much more reliable. People are consistent in describing textures. But our ability to consistently name smells is much less reliable. It doesn’t mean we’re bad tasters.

There’s a fabulous new study by Asifa Majid at Raboud University in the Netherlands and Nicole Kruspe at Lund University in Sweden. They did work with a hunter gatherer trip called the Jahai in Malaysia. The found the Jahai could consistently name aromas accurately. But an agrarian group called the Semelai with a similar language nearby struggled. Much like people in the West. It seems like we lost the ability to make close assessments of smell when we started farming.

That’s the last of our “Better Ask Joe” series and I’m hugely grateful to him for taking the time out of his busy schedule to share his thoughts.  I can’t help but feel that his excellent answers were deserving of far better questions.  The lessons I’m taking away are:

1.  Use terms and language that customers can easily relate to.

2. Match our level of “wine enthusiasm” to that of the customer in front of us.

3. Sell our wines with a genuine personal promise that we think this particular wine is right for the occasion the customer has described to us.

4. Natural wine – confirms my thinking that they can be great but are often awful.  I think you deserve a better level of assurance that it’s all going to be alright when you hand over your money.

5. In the context of BREXIT and a tough 2017 harvest we’re going to have to work harder at sourcing great value wines for you.  Luckily we enjoy that bit!

 

From our fourth edition of 2018:

BOTH Mike

 

Obviously at BinTwo we’re generally awesome in every way (ahem).  But what would you tell our customers they should expect from us as a good independent wine merchant?  And, put another way, what’s your biggest gripe with wine shops? (Careful now, Joe).

 

 

 

joe fattorini 1All wine merchants – and I’ve been one since the early 1990’s – have one HUGE problem. We love wine. We live wine. Wine runs through our veins almost as literally as it does metaphorically. And the same is true of some of our customers. But… there are an awful lot people who just want a nice drink. Most people just want a lovely drink. And wine nuts like us really struggle to understand that. Most people are not as naturally as enthused with wine as we are. Great merchants take a bit of time to understand their customers’ “enthusiasm level” and tailor their advice accordingly. It’s a bit like selling a car. Enthusiasts want to know what the horsepower and torque is. In the same way we want to know what sort of oak wine was fermented in. But a lot of valuable and brilliant customers want to know if the car comes in metallic blue and will still look good in a year. Just like some wine customers want to know if it goes with quiche and their boyfriend will like it. It takes a bit of empathy to get that balance right. Empathy. That’s the word. That’s what good wine merchants need.

Joe’s response to this question really struck a chord with me.  As long term followers may recall, we sort of fell into the wine trade 5 years ago so we had to compensate for our relative lack of experience and knowledge.  I think we’ve done that by speaking to people in plain English at their “wine level”  – frankly we had little other choice in the early days. 

We found that people responded really well – often with a palpable sense of relief.  For some of our customers I think they’ve liked the sense that we’re on the learning journey too.  I trust you all to let me know if we start losing sight of our roots!

It’s driven my recruiting decisions too.  I always look for people who know how to look after other people and make them feel comfortable.  It could be because we’re a hybrid merchant/bar, or it could be because we’re in Padstow. But those traits seem to be much more important than their wine knowledge.  We can teach staff about wine but it’s hard to teach people to be nice, friendly and approachable.

 

From our third edition of 2018:

BOTH Mike

Even in spite of the general tomfoolery that some of us routinely display, our customers really do seem to trust us to help guide them to a great wine that they’re likely to enjoy (thank goodness for Kate and the rest of the team).  What tips would you offer our customers to help them get the very best out of their wine when drinking at home?

 

 

 

joe fattorini 1Can I give you a weird one? It’s something that may help you guide people as much and people be guided. One of the great myths – and I absolutely believe this – is that people are on a quest to find the finest, grandest, greatest value-for-money wine they can. Actually, I think people are far more motivated by a fear of disappointment than a determination to maximise pleasure. Great tasting notes, analysis and food matching don’t help people in those circumstances. What really matters is a personal promise, a solemn oath that the human being in front of you endorses this choice. And that it’s right for the occasion. We match wine to occasion more than anything. Am I relaxing with my partner with this? Impressing a friend? Looking for a gastronomic treat? Seeking adventure? What’s really helpful is for someone – like you and your team –to say “in those circumstance, this is what I would do”. That really makes a difference.

Wise words from Joe.  We completely buy into the concept of the “personal promise – a solemn oath” philosophy.  It underpins the way we buy all of our wines – do we like them?  Can we all get behind them?  There’s no “padding” on our shelves – nothing bought in bulk even if the wine was a bit average but the price was right.  No “manager’s special” against which the team have sales targets.  Rather our philosphy is summed up by our Wines We Love approach.  We give free rein to one of the team and ask them to pick a wine they love then write a bit about it so we can share it with you and give you an honest pointer.  Authenticity is the word that has been rattling around in my head – that’s what I hope sets us apart.

 

From our second edition of 2018:

BOTH Mike

Natural wine – I’m deeply sceptical.  Champions of natural wine say that it is the purest expression of the grape.  I say a raw potato might be the purest expression of a spud but development over time has proven to my satisfaction that it tastes better when it’s baked and slathered in butter!  Am I missing something?  Am I a philistine? Guide me wise one…

 

 

 

joe fattorini 1“Some of the loveliest bottles I’ve had have been natural wines. And unquestionably most of the worst wines I’ve ever had have been natural wines. And that’s their problem. And their charm.  If you’re an enthusiast – or at least a particular sort of enthusiast – there’s a great excitement about finding one of those magic wine moments. And when natural wine is good it’s quite extraordinarily good. But most of us want a basic level of assurance that a bottle of wine you’ve spent a half decent sum of money on isn’t going to take like a cross between horse urine and cider vinegar. And natural wine often can’t give you that assurance. I don’t belong to that sort of fundamentalist sect that necessarily believes that because it’s natural it’s good. And what really infuriates me is when people say, “you just don’t understand it”. Of course, I do you complete clown. It just tastes like I’ve been sick in my mouth.”

Unsurprisingly Joe puts it much better than me.  He’s summed up nicely why I’ve found it hard to get behind natural wines in a big way.  It’s just too much of a gamble for me to ask you to take when you’re spending a reasonable chunk of money with us.  That variation from one bottle to the next, often variation in quality between bottles in the same case of six, is just a bit too much uncertainty for my liking.  Biodynamic wines however… now that’s a different matter all together!  But what does biodynamic even mean?  Read more…

 

From our first edition of 2018:

BOTH MikeThanks for joining us, Joe.  2017 saw the double whammy of an historically poor harvest in most of Europe and the fall of the pound following BREXIT.  We’re now seeing the associated price increases flow through from suppliers. We love a “new find” at BinTwo and relish getting behind wines from less well known origins.  Any top tips on where we should look to find great value, interesting wines in 2018?

 

 

 

joe fattorini 1“This is an interesting one. It’s not a fashionable view, but I think the poor harvest is a bigger issue than the value of the pound. Volumes in 2017 are down 30%, 40%… more in some places. It was an extraordinary vintage. And so early too. I was meeting producers last year who’d harvested in July and August rather than September. That will push up prices, but more importantly, push us all into new regions.

The Pound feels low, and is lower than we’ve been used to it. But it’s not much lower than the average value against the Euro between 2010 and 2014. But the duty escalator and coupled with the rising pound between 2014 to 2016 means we’ve really felt the return to a that lower level with a serious bump. I blame government tax policy more than Brexit for that pain. What really matters is finding interesting wines now.

My gut feel is that Eastern Europe and Australia are two early winners. Those semi-aromatic whites like Furmint blends from Slovenia or straight Furmints from Hungary. New lighter and fresher whites and tamer premium reds from Australia too, filling in the gaps left by Chianti Classico or Macon where vintages have been rough. I suspect varieties to look out for are Verdejo, Vermentino, Bobal and all sorts from Aus. There are some great Fianos and fresh Chardonnays and I loved the different styles of Shiraz at the recent Australia Day Tastings in London.”

Footnote:  we took this advice to heart at this year’s tastings and have some cracking finds heading to the BinTwo shelves including some knock-out (and great value) wines from Australia.  Watch this space..

Jammy Git

“Jammy Git”… Has Mike finally lost it?

 

Entirely reasonably you might be wondering why my head has suddenly appeared on a wine label and how I could consider naming a fabulous wine from Bordeaux something as off-the-wall as “Jammy Git”.  Allow me to explain…

I’ve had cause to be a bit reflective of late.  Call it age (my 50th birthday suddenly doesn’t feel too far away) but I’ve pondered about the circuitous route that led us into life in Cornwall and ownership of a rather nice little wine shop.  When I break it all down it’s true to say that we’ve worked hard, we’ve created a few opportunities and we’ve been willing to take a chance here and there… to make a few brave choices… to take the plunge if you will.

But we’ve also been very lucky.  Lucky with some of the opportunities that arose at just the right moment and lucky with the people we’ve met along the way.  And the development of our “Jammy Git” wine range is a case in point.

The name “Jammy Git” is a playful nod to the serendipity that led us into ownership of BinTwo nearly five years ago and the general, all-round jamminess that we have broadly enjoyed since.  Customers often comment about how lucky I am to do what I do.  And, whilst it’s often hard work, I can’t disagree.

I suppose I’m also allowing myself to have some fun with the branding (call it my fifth “business birthday” present to myself).  We could have produced something serious and austere… but that’s not really us.  I’m also following a hunch that customers might enjoy something more playful than another label featuring a generic picture of a chateau or a horse pulling a plough. Time will tell…

Some people make a career out of searching the globe for small pockets of extraordinary wines.  With characteristic good luck our first contender for a BinTwo branded wine presented itself to us on our first visit to a Bordeaux vineyard.  It’s made by Mark Hellyar – a winemaker who’s become a good friend over the years – he’s our kind of people.  He’s a Cornishman making some extraordinary wines in Bordeaux with a contemporary touch – he’s not been afraid to shake up tradition.  As I said, he’s our kind of people.

In 2014 (our first year at the helm of BinTwo) we visited Mark’s vineyard, Chateau Civrac in Côtes de Bourg.  It was the first vineyard I visited as someone “in the trade” and I was mesmerised.  Mark had been playing with the idea of making a range of high-end, limited edition varietal wines and he had the very best of his 2012 Merlot gently maturing in just one large barrel.  He drew me a sample from the barrel.  We tasted it right there in his small winery – largely unchanged since the 18th century.  It still had some aging to do but it was clear he was onto a winner.  “I’ll have some of that when it’s ready” said I.  And so my first purchase direct from the winemaker was made.  In the end it was so good I took it all.

Aged for 14 months in a two-year-old French oak barrel this cracking wine has developed great character. Plummy, slightly smoky with a rich, soft texture and lingering finish.  It’s a very easy-drinking wine that would go down well on it’s own or with a few nibbles.  Equally it has enough about it to pair well with food. I like mine with barbequed meats, but to be honest, I love it so much I’d be happy to match it to a bag of Monster Munch – it’s a wine I’ll turn to whatever the occasion.

It’s my hope that this Merlot won’t be the last Jammy Git wine (customer feedback and sales will determine that!)  What Jammy Git wines will have in common is a certain authenticity.  By which I mean they will be wines that I feel we have a genuine connection with.  We’ll have met the winemaker, visited the vineyard, understood their ethos.  Maybe even have had a small part in the development of the wine.

I may not always be able to tell you that only one barrel of the wine was made and we have it (although that is the case with our Jammy Git Merlot) but I will be able to look you in the eye and tell you that I haven’t bought a blank bottled, mass produced wine and slapped our label on it in order to maximise profits.

Nope, they’ll be good, honest wines.  Wines that I love that I think you’ll love too.  Wines priced fairly with no massive “own label” margins applied.  Wines that have been made by winemakers I believe in with an ethos I can get behind.  I wouldn’t put my name, or indeed my face, on anything else.

 

When I returned from my visit to Mark’s vineyard in 2014 I wrote a blog, re-posted here, that might go some way to explaining more about why there could only ever really be one choice for our first BinTwo wine.

Why a Bordeaux Special you ask (& a two page bumper edition no less!)

For no better reason than the fact that Mary, the boys & I have just returned from a trip exploring this legendary winemaking region & I’ve fallen in love with the place. Who could blame me – just look at these luscious Merlot grapes at Château Civrac just begging to be picked & transformed into a Grand Vin. They’re so beautiful it’s positively indecent!

Bordeaux is, of course, the largest wine region in France both in terms of production (9000 producers making about 800 million bottles per year) & vineyard acreage (the region has a whopping 300 thousand acres of vineyards!) I was aware of these huge numbers but to be honest they meant little to me until I saw the seemingly endless landscape of pristine vines.

How lucky that the most prolific agricultural crop in Bordeaux also happens to produce such a mesmerizingly seductive landscape. You will have gathered by now that I have developed somewhat of a crush for the area.

Highpoints of this new romance would have to include the time we spent in St Emilion. Aside from producing some of the best wine in the region this perfectly-preserved medieval hilltop town is simply beautiful. So taken in was I that I made easy prey for fellow wine merchant Hugo Stefanski who shamelessly upsold me on a selection of wines including a probably over-priced Pomerol made by a tiny producer who’s managed to hold on to just 1 acre of land next door to Pétrus – the big boys in the region (they recently offered him 2 million euros for it apparently). You think I’d be immune to this kind of blatant sales patter but I was powerless to resist!

Eating fresh oysters from the Bassin d’Arcachon with a glass of white Bordeaux Graves at a beach shack on Cap Ferret will live long in the memory. But my fondest memories are of the time we spent at Château Civrac with Cornishman turned Bordeaux winemaker Mark Hellyar.

Many of you will know the story of how he rescued a neglected Château & vineyard near Bourg sur Gironde & you may have tasted his wines at BinTwo. Certainly it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Mark’s work but visiting his vineyard (& we were honoured to discover that we were his very first visitors) really brought his inspiring story to life.

Winemaking, as I witnessed, is blooming hard graft & Mark is right in the thick of it. The winery dates back to the late 18th century & remains largely unchanged. The early 20th century saw the addition of concrete storage tanks as used by Pétrus (fantastic for maintaining stable storage conditions) & Mark has grafted on the bare minimum of 21st century technology to improve electronic temperature & quality control. But otherwise his processes remain remarkably traditional – if a small-scale, minimal intervention, high quality artisan wine is your thing then stop looking.

Walking through the unassuming door to the winery at Château Civrac feels like taking a little step back in history & we feel very privileged to have been allowed to take it. Thanks Mark  – keep up the good work!

Rustini

Paws for thought… an interview about canine etiquette.

Here at BinTwo we love dogs… L-O-V-E them!  We’ve always welcomed them on the terrace as well as in the shop and even provide a little drink for our canine buddies.  The word is obviously out as we’ve seen a growth in the number of four legged customers who come and visit us.  Our pooch pals rarely cause us any problems.  Here we speak to The Great Rustini, canine chum of our good friend Sean, about how they should make sure that their humans behave…

“Mr Great Rustini, thanks for joining us.  That’s quite a mouthful of a name by the way”.

“No problem and you can blame my human.  I mean, WHO would give a dog a name better suited to a magician?  Just call me Rusty.”

“Thanks Rusty.  And I’m glad you touched on the eccentric behaviour of humans.  Y’see… we need to talk.”

“So I’m not in trouble?  I thought it might be about when I was last in your place.  I was a bit sandy from the beach and had to… clean myself up.”

“No – it’s not that.  We welcome your… personal hygiene.  You’re a dog – licking… everywhere is what you do.  I just need you to have a word with your human.  They love you very much and sometimes it makes them do things that seem a little… a little bit…”

“A little bit mad?”

“No!  Not mad… obviously.  Clearly that’s not what I meant to suggest, Rusty!”

“Well you should.  They’re bonkers – all of them.  I mean, there’s a range of nuttiness, but they’re all on the fruit loop scale somewhere.”

“Look – that’s not what I’m saying, I just meant -“

“Seriously – they are!  My mate from down the park… his humans have created his own Facebook page!  They write posts in his name and everything.  All a bit offensive really – full of lots of canine stereotypes.  And the outfits they make him wear for his profile photos – you wouldn’t believe the trauma they put him through.  He hates Christmas – all those silly hats and the Christmas cards to his mates signed “from Max” – bonkers…”

“Riiiiight.  Anyway, I’m definitely not suggesting that you and your mates’ humans are in any way mad.  My point is that they just love you all very much and occasionally… very, very occasionally, some of them lose sight of the fact that not all humans love you as much as them…”

“…………….”

“Rusty?…”

“So you hate dogs then.”

“NO!  I love dogs!  Especially you obviously.  But some folk are allergic to dogs (my wife included) and some people just don’t want to play with you like your owners do.  I’ve got to look out for those sorts of humans too so we need a few simple rules”.

“I get it – I mean you and all the other dog haters out there have a massive hole where your soul should be, but I get it… and have you thought about finding a new wife?”

“I DO NOT HATE DOGS! (and yes, frequently)”

“Alright – keep your hair on.  I’m just kidding – I get what you mean.  Down on the beach the other day there was this dog who was jumping all over a little kid.  Kid was clearly terrified and the dog’s human turned up laughing saying the dog was “only being friendly” – that’s not on is it?”

“Exactly that – that’s the sort of thing I’m talking about!”

“Honestly we can get away with anything… A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G.  As long as I stick my tongue out, smile and wag my tail then I’m untouchable.  My human would let me off with eating that kid on the beach as long as I looked cheerful while I’m doing it.  Right – what rules shall we agree then?  We like coming to your gaff.  Not everywhere welcomes us and, in fairness, you’re pretty cool about letting us in alongside everyone else.  I’ll have a word with my mates in the park – in between a bit of important sniffing of each other obviously – and we’ll get the message through to our humans.  Shoot”

“Thanks Rusty – I’d appreciate that.  It’s really awkward when we raise it – your humans love you so much they sometimes take it personally.  OK – first up we’d like you to be kept on your lead and under control.  Clearly I know that you’re the boss in the canine/human relationship…”

“You’re damn right I am”

“… but you and your friends tend to go exploring when you’re off the lead and that means us and others might step on you or trip over you when we’re charging around serving people.  Also we’ve had some dogs come wandering round behind the counter and into the food preparation area.  I mean, who doesn’t like a Scooby Snack but that’s not on”.

“Well that one’s obvious – I imagine it’s creates some issues with your food hygiene inspections.  No problemo.  Rule number one – we stay on the lead and under control.  Got it… go on.”

“You’re right about the food hygiene inspections.  I have had one dog owner explain to me that canine saliva is cleaner than human saliva but the county council don’t really see it that way.  Secondly, and this is the one that really upsets some of your humans, we’d like you to stay off the seats unless your owner’s brought some sort of blanket or other cover for you”.

“Hmmm.  Not sure about this.  I sit on the sofa at home and it’s damn comfy.  The floor at your place – well… it’s not”

“I get it.  I really do.  But that’s your home and your human’s choice.  A lot of people come into BinTwo all dressed up ready for a nice night out and they shouldn’t really have to worry about getting covered in hair.  And, before you jump in, I know you’re not a breed that sheds hair.  Nonetheless some people feel it’s not really hygienic for you to be sitting on the seats as your… your bits are obviously all a bit… naked.  We’ve also had some damage with claws tearing the upholstery and it’s not cheap to fix when that happens”.

“OK.  Can’t say I’m happy about it, but I get where you’re coming from.  I’ll sort them out – they won’t give you any hassle.  Rule number two – we stay off the seats.  Anything else?”

“Just one thing more and you’ve already touched on it Rusty.  It’s just asking your humans to be thoughtful and to not let you be a bother to other customers.  Some people will love you just as much as your humans.  But not everyone will.  Some people are even… cat people”.

“Nooooooo!”

“Yes, I know.  Anyway, it’s that scenario you spoke about on the beach.  Some people are wary of dogs.  Hard to believe I know, but true.  They might be happy to say a friendly hello but they don’t want to play.  Just occasionally your humans are so in love with you they don’t read the signs from other people.  Can you help?”

“OK.  So if I’ve got this right, we’re talking about three rules:

1. I stay on a lead and under control.

2. I stay off the seats.

3. I don’t bother people who don’t want to play.

Is that it?”

“Yep – it’s that simple”

“And if me, my mates and our humans stick to those we can all still come into the shop and hang out?  You’ll give us the water and everything?”

“Of course”

“Well that seems fair.  Deal!”

“Thanks Rusty.  The moment you walked in I could tell you were a smart cookie.  Now just go and sell the plan to you human for me”.

“Done – mine is a particularly odd one though isn’t he?”

“You’re damn right”.

 

natural wine

Natural, Organic, Biodynamic… WHAT DOES ALL IT MEAN? Ten on-trend buzzwords that you need to know…

 

I’ve always found that BinTwo customers are interested in the stories behind our wines.  But generally within the trade there’s increased interest from customers in the way the wines they buy are made.  This has encouraged, in some instances, an almost cult like reverence for terms such as natural, organic and biodynamic.  But it’s often far from clear what these terms mean and whether winemakers are applying them consistently.

Over the winter we’ve worked hard to source some great wines that are organic, biodynamic and even vegan.  Although we’ve struck up partnerships with some fantastic new suppliers and winemakers along the way, it perhaps shouldn’t have surprised me that some of our existing winemakers have been quietly making wines that fit into this space for some time.  They just haven’t marketed them as such because no-one’s been that bothered.

If you’ve read our interview with Joe Fattorini about natural wines, then you’ll know I’m not convinced about that particular ideology.  But we’ve tried to get under the hood of these increasingly common terms to help us make smarter choices about the wines we can offer to those of you who are interested.  What hasn’t changed is that we continue to hunt down interesting wines that taste great, that are made by people who love what they do and that have a compelling story to tell.

Here, writing for Imbibe, freelance wine writer Darren Smith does a first rate job of de-mystifying ten on trend wine trade buzz words.  If it’s fired up your interest, then look out for our upcoming events featuring biodynamic wines on 26th May and minimal intervention wines from South Africa on 15th June…

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Five things you can help us do to save the world!

Alright, I’ll admit it.  “Save the world” might be stretching the headline in order to drag your attention to the article, but there are some things that we’re doing to try and help the environment that you can support us with.  We may not single handedly clean the oceans or save the polar ice caps, but doing your bit is the bit you can do and all that…

So here it is.  The five things we’re doing to do our bit that you can support us with.

33FDA53D-8498-4E30-BD66-AEF02594DE7EReducing our use of plastic.

We’ll be critically reviewing the extent to which single use plastic is present in our supply chain.  We’ll encourage our suppliers to eliminate it where we find it and we’ll take simple steps such as supporting the Final Straw Cornwall which aims to eliminate the use of plastic straws (even the compostable ones which don’t break down if they make their way into the ocean).  We’ll be offering paper straws on request to lovers of gin and tonic and tiny tots guzzling apple juice.

What do you need to do?  Nothing – we’ve done it for you (easy innit?)

Smug rating: 1 (C’mon all you need to do is not moan about not having a straw!)

 

 

 

F81700CE-CC3B-4EF3-A0E6-DD10C6D3AD15Encouraging the use of reusable water bottles.

When we took over BinTwo four years ago we stopped selling bottled water (even though doing so is quite lucrative) and offered free tap water instead.  The whole process of bottling, transporting and selling water in a country with safe, clean water supplies has always sat a little uneasily with me.  We’ve now signed up to Refill Cornwall which means we’ll offer to refill people’s water bottle with fresh Cornish tap water.  We’ve always done this when asked but now we’re shouting it from the on-line roof-tops!  It’s a free service and no purchase is necessary.  Through this we hope to reduce the use of single use plastic water bottles.  If you turn up with a plastic Evian bottle that you’re re-using then thank you – good job!  If you go one stage further and turn up with a “proper” reusable water bottle then you may even get the added warm glow that only comes with a subtle nod of approval from the BinTwo crew.

What do you need to do? Not much really (I didn’t say this was going to be a stretching list of tasks!)  Just hang on to your empty bottle and come to us for a refill rather than buying another bottle of mineral water.  Simple.

Smug rating: 2 (rising to 3 if purchasing a reusable bottle).

Switching to compostable coffee cups.

In theory our current takeaway cups are recyclable but the lamination that makes them (and all other “regular” cups) waterproof means they can only be recycled in specialist facilities.  You’ll have seen the headlines – 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are used in the UK each year and only a tiny percentage get recycled properly.  The remainder go to incinerators or landfill.  So we’ll be switching over to Vegware takeaway coffee cups and lids which are made from plants not plastic.  The clever thing about Vegware is that it can be recycled with food waste which will eventually produce nutrient rich compost.  As an extra Brucie Bonus, the process for producing Vegware coffee cups also uses 72% less carbon than the alternatives.  Imagine how much more satisfying your next flat white will be now that you know all this!

What do you need to do? Just pop your used coffee cup and lid in a food waste bin (or your own compost).  Maybe enquire with your own local coffee shop if they’ve thought about switching to Vegware (don’t be all aggressive and challenging though – you don’t want to be “that” person).

Smug rating: 1 (rising to 2 if you dispose of properly and 4 if you bring another coffee shop on board).

2FDDC2A3-F3E4-4676-8FF0-F295D19A5E53Introducing reusable coffee cups (available from March).

Even better than the warm glow that comes with using one of our new Vegware cups is the smug sense of being on the cutting edge of environmental awareness AND high fashion that can only come from buying one of our funky new reusable coffee cups!  Our BinTwo branded Stojo reusable cups are collapsible and fold down to a sort of hockey puck sized package that fits handily into a coat pocket or bag.  They have a secure lid which, in my own field trials, means that those last few drops of coffee won’t leak into your pocket or bag once you’ve finished your drink.

We’ve opted for these over the more commonly seen KeepCups as I’ve always found that I never have mine with me when I need it due to them being a bit bulky.  I’m gambling that some of you might be in the same position – particularly when you’re off to the the beach on foot once you’ve picked up your flat white from us.

To sweeten the deal when you buy one of our cups we’ll throw in a coffee for free if you have it there and then.  Thereafter when you buy a takeaway coffee from us       using our (or any other) reusable coffee cup, we’ll deduct 15p to reflect the saving made through not having to use a Vegware cup.  We also guarantee not to roll our eyes when you ask us to rinse your reusable cup before filling it!

What do you need to do? Buy one of our reusable cups of course!  But if the collapsible thing doesn’t work for you then do consider buying another brand – it’ll pay for itself in no time.

Smug rating: 5 when using a BinTwo cup (falling to 4 if using someone else’s because… well just because).

Upping the ante on our recycling.

We’re already pretty tight on this with recycling our bottles and cardboard (in vast quantities!)  But we’ll be trying even harder to make sure that things than can be recycled don’t end up in general waste during the heat of service in the busy season.  Call it working on the final 10% if you will.  We’ll also develop a way of offering up our used coffee grinds to customers to use in their compost or as a slug repellant.  I admit that this may be of limited interest to holiday makers (although you’re welcome to take some home with you) but hopefully we may be able to do our bit to keep the slugs at bay from the allotments of Padstow!

What do you need to do? Come and grab some coffee grinds… please!

Smug rating: 0 (but you’ll at least see off some slimy invertebrates so have a Slug rating of 5!)

Wrapped Christmas Gifts Shop 2017 - half size

CHRISTMAS WINE ORDERS

 

It’s not too late to place your orders from our Christmas Wine Tasting.

Below you will find links to our full Christmas Tasting list and an order form.  If you’d guaranteed availability of all of the wines listed, please ensure that you have emailed your order to wine@bintwo.com by no later than noon on Wednesday 6th December.

We can accept orders later than that but we can’t guarantee that all of the wines will be available (but we’ll happily help guide you to alternatives that we can supply in time for Christmas).

The dates for free local deliveries are Thursday 14th December and Friday 23rd December so please be sure to indicate your preference when placing your order.

The last date that we can dispatch wines by mail order is Monday 18th December.

Christmas tasting list 2017 FINAL

Christmas Order Form 2017

 

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Barber on the Harbour Part 2 – Sunday 22nd October

I love it when a plan comes together

Mike love it when a plan comes together

After the hugely successful inaugural Barber on the Harbour charity fundraiser last year we’ll be repeating the event this year!

On the evening of 22nd October from 6pm we’re turning BinTwo over to the care of menfolk.  You work hard, you play hard and it all takes its toll.  Let us look after you and tend to your manly needs… because you’re worth it.  And, as if you needed further persuasion, proceeds from the evening will be going to charity – we’re viewing it as a pre-fundraiser for Movember that starts on 1st November.

BinTwo will be cracking the seals on bourbons and whiskeys and we’ll break out the cigars (yes that’s right chaps… cigars…but only for smoking outside!) and our regular terrace menu will be available to those who don’t wish to endure a hangover as impressive as the one Mike nursed after last year’s event…

 

So whether you fancy adopting the demeanour of an Edwardian Sea Captain or if you just like the idea of a beard tidy in a suitably masculine environment, BinTwo will provide a safe space where the aromas of cologne, coffee, bourbon and tobacco blend to create “essence of man”…Grrrr.

Trim this? Pass the shears...

Trim this? Pass the shears…

Ladies – calm down.  You’ll still be most welcome into our little den on the night to either join in on the whiskey and cigar vibe or imbibe something from our usual selection of wines and fizz.  All that while you wait for your man to be transformed into something that positively fizzles with raw animal magnetism.  Our BinTwo menus will even double up nicely as improvised fans to keep those burning flames under control (you are after all…only human).

Olly and his lovely wife Claire are the brains behind Gents Quarter (all the way up in Yorkshire) designing heritage inspired hair and beard designs for gentlemen.  All drawing inspiration from an age where the barbershop was a place to relax and enjoy a cigar and a snifter in a suitably leathery environment.

So whether you fancy adopting the demeanour of an ELook into my eyes...dwardian Sea Captain or if you just like the idea of a beard tidy in a suitably masculine environment, BinTwo will provide a safe space where the aromas of cologne, coffee, bourbon and tobacco blend to create “essence of man”…Grrrr.

 

Barber services will be offered in exchange for a charitable donation into the Movember pot, and cigars will be available to purchase separately to be smoked outside on the terrace.

No booking necessary – just pop along (by which I mean swagger in manfully) on the night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Flight Club #8 Loire Friday 4th August

The much anticipated Flight Club #8 Loire is happening on Friday 4th August at The ARC, Hawksfield at a cost of only £30 per person!

As a huge and graciously received thank you for all their hard work, we sent Kate and Harriet off to France to personally source the wines for this event. If you’ve seen either of them since, you’ll know that they had way too much fun for a ‘work’ trip!

But, does what happen in Loire stay in Loire? Of course not! They’re going to tell you all about their adventures whilst tasting the fantastic wines they chose to bring home. Accompanied by a casual canape supper this informal tasting is guaranteed to raise a few smiles (or nervous giggles from K & H – both self-confessed non-public speakers!)

You may be forgiven for thinking the Loire is all about Sauvignon Blanc with familiar names such as Sancerre and Pouilly Fume. But with the resurgence of Muscadet, incredibly lush Chenin Blanc and vastly understated Cabernet Franc, there is so much to discover.

Tickets are only £30 per person so BOOK NOW to join us on Friday 4th August from 7pm at The ARC, Hawksfield. Don’t forget, if you’re coming from Padstow let us know and we’ll arrange return taxi transport for you.

Read below for a little insight in to their trip…

bonnezeau barrel (2)  Chateau Feselsz (2) grapes (2) 

Us girls, we went on a trip to France
Being more specific, we went to Nantes
Sent to Loire on a quest for great wine
Technically ‘work’ but we had a fab time

Thoroughly spoilt for the whole of our stay
We were plied with great food and Muscadet
Thinking we knew this particular grape
48 on one list surprised even Kate!

The weather was fair and warm in Loire
And particularly good for some terroir
But really not so in the case of Goulaine
Where the moat was bone dry, they really need rain!

We arrived at the Chateau where we met Pierre-Jean
What a character he was, Mr Sauvion
From 4 generations of wine ‘creators’
He referred to himself as a ‘pleasure maker’

His vineyard awaited, he called it his garden
He filled us with facts but avoided the jargon
Then on to the ‘house’ to taste lots of wine
Full of excitement for what we may find

There was plenty of choice amongst the wines
But we thought long and hard, overlooking the vines
Melon de Bourgogne or lush Chenin Blanc
Or Harriet’s favourite Cabernet Franc?

We made our decisions throughout the trip
And nearly missing the flight was the only blip
Over all, the trip was a huge success
So join us at Flight Club and be our guests

  vineyard group tasting table group

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