Cambridge Wine scene.
Cambridge must have one of the most vibrant wine scenes of any city in the UK: we have no fewer than seven independent outlets in a city of 100,000 people – that’s one for every 15,000-odd people and doesn’t even include all the outlets just outside the city centre.
Cambridge Wine Merchants has the city’s biggest presence with branches on Bridge Street, King’s Parade, Mill Road and Cherry Hinton Road.
Where to go for what
All our local independents have a great range of wines and also do different tasting events.
In addition to this, Noel Young has an award-winning range of Austrian wines, as well as Magpie Estate from Noel’s winery in Australia’s Barossa Valley which he co-owns with wine-maker Rolf Binder. He has also recently start a Wine Club.
As well as wines, Bacchanalia has an extensive range of real ales in bottle and on draught available from its Mill Road shop.
Cambridge Wine Merchants has a wine bar at its Cherry Hinton Road branch, an award-winning range of sherries and fortified wines and an extensive range of around 350 whiskies.
Another award-winning merchant, based in the genteel market town of Saffron Walden, is Joseph Barnes Wines; owner Charles Hardcastle specialises in sourcing characterful wines from the Languedoc in southern France and from northern Spain direct from the producers. He also has a Wine Club.
Beyond the city walls
Just outside of Cambridge, Private Cellar are based in Newmarket and have Master of Wine Nicola Arcedeckne-Butler as their buyer. As you might expect, their range is big on the classics, especially France, and of impeccable quality.
Based at Burwash, Cozzi and Boffa aim to discover new and emerging winemaking talent from lesser known regions that can often deliver well above their perceived value, whilst just south of Cambridge is Hedonist Wines and at Chippenham, there is The Wine Store at La Hogue.
With all that going on, why would you ever buy wine at a supermarket ?
Food and Wine / Wine and Food
If you want good wine with food and without the Michelin-star price tag, you’ll need to avoid the tourist destinations and check out:
– The Punter on Pound Hill
– Fitzbillies, a Cambridge institution brought back to life after a Stephen Fry tweet
– Hotel du Vin has not only a great wine list but also holds regular food and wine events with Champagne dinners, Croatian wines and a port dinner
For something more informal, pick up some traditional Italian food and a bottle of wine from Limoncello on Mill Road. Or for something more intimate and rather hush-hush, check out Cambridge’s only private members’ club, 12a.
Further afield, The Old Bridge in Huntingdon, a handsome, ivy-clad C18th townhouse, is run by Master of Wine John Hoskins and features an Enomatic machine that keeps opened bottles perfectly fresh to be sampled by the glass.
And if you want to visit a vineyard, then take a trip out to Chilford Hall near Linton to see their 18 acres of Müller-Thurgau, Ortega, Pinot Noir and others. The wines, many of them award-winners, are all produced on-site and available to buy.
Private Cellar – Private Cellar
Cozzi and Boffa – Cozzi and Boffa
Hedonist Wines – website
The Wine Store at La Hogue – The Wine Store at La Hogue