Noel Young Wines set to relocate in Great Shelford
Noel Young Wines is set to move from its Trumpington base to bigger premises in Great Shelford which will allow significantly more room to display stock and includes space for a bar on the site.
“Two thirds will be retail, one third a wine bar,” says Noel of the new venue. “We know the high street is under pressure, so we want to make a visit more of an experience, so you can have wine or cheese or coffee, it’ll be a more relaxed environment.”
The new site on Granham’s Road was previously the De Freville Arms.
“I saw it a year ago,” Noel says, “it had been empty for two years. We’re doing a refit – shelving, furniture, the bar, a kitchen. Structurally it’ll remain the same. We had to wait a year for planning permission but it was the first place that seemed just right – we wanted to stay this side of Cambridge. We’re hoping to open in March.”
Noel Young Wines started life in Trumpington in 1991, and moved into its current premises in 1992. “We’ve been looking to relocate for 15 years,” Noel says of the move. “We can only put 60 per centof the wine on display where we are now.”
So how does he account for the shifts in wine sales, where the once-triumphant pinot grigio gets overtaken by sauvignon and then that is then overtaken by chablis?
“Lots of people start with pinot,” he says, “it’s clean, easy and fresh, but has no massively obvious flavours... Sauvignon is a taste explosion, then they think, ‘I’ll try something else...’ Generally people are looking for a level of consistency and it needs to be relatively affordable.”
Noel appears to be agnostic about what people prefer but catering to the wine market is an ongoing quest.
“In terms of region, it’s always been a pretty personal, curated, selected range of wines and obviously I look around.”
Noel Young Wines is also “supplying the wine for the new Provenance Kitchen development, which is opening as Brix and Mortar in Whittlesford in the next few days”.
He has also started organising wine tasting events.
“We have a major South African tasting event at Anstey Hall on March 1. We find and taste the best we can, so we’ve got a good range of wines at a good range of prices. There will be 70 to 100 wines to taste, and master of wine Tim Atkin will be fronting the evening.
“It’s a new venture for us, it’s just getting off the ground, Anstey Hall is a great venue, it’ll be fun and relaxed.”
Tim Atkin was also part of the Three Wine Men event at the Corn Exchange in November. His 250-page report on South African wines is available as part of the ticket deal for March 1, available on Noel Young Wine’s website.
Noel notes that the whole foodie scene is shifting into a higher gear in the region this year, with Hole in the Wall chef Alex Rushmer opening a new eaterie on Mill Road with Lawrence Butler soon, Brix and Mortar, Vegan Vice opening in Ta Bouche and former head chef/owner of Alimentum, Mark Poynton, opening Thirsty & Hungry any day on King Street. Meanwhile, the recently reopened diner at the University Arms, Parker’s Tavern, continues to win praise for its superb fare.
More by this authorMike Scialom