The team at Vin Santo are very excited to introduce you all to our new blog!

Every other week we will be discussing what’s new, staff favourites, upcoming events and so much more. We hope you all enjoy this new element and would love it if you could let us know what you think!

Once upon a time, in a land far away (or Fourteenth Century Sienna) there was a well-meaning friar. Between doing his usual rounds, feeding the masses and polishing his bald spot, he would give mass, passing out the blood of Christ through sacramental wine. After one service, so they say, he found he had some spare, and rather than going on a truly biblical bender, he let the sick drink what remained. As one often feels after a good glass, a miracle occurred – they were cured of their ills. The wine was declared holy, or rather, the vin santo.

It’s tales like this that really make one thing we at Vin Santo do – God’s work. While not exactly feeding the five thousand, we’ve certainly been keeping them well watered, with Chester having enjoyed our range of wine and spirits for nearly a year now. It’s been a tricky period for everyone, and while we might not yet be able to turn Volvic into vino, or Highland Spring into Highland scotch, we know our doors will soon be open to you again, which will feel like a miracle in itself.

With that in mind, we’ve started a blog. Here, we hope to keep you abreast of life in our crypt, the team popping the cork on current wines, upcoming events, and rambling on as one does after a few. We will, however, spare you any more religious gags – which we’re sure will be an answer to your prayers!

To start off, we’re asking the big question, a real thinker: how on earth did we get here? Taking on a thirteenth century crypt and setting it up with a fresh range would always be tough. Painting furniture in a place that can literally crumble onto you is, for example, daunting; the dusting is a never-ender, let alone lighting somewhere that can look like Dracula’s spare room. But launching all this in the middle of a global pandemic…

Wine needs tasting. Before selecting something for our range, there is a long process of communicating with rep’s, trawling through samples (a horror), and ideally visiting its place of origin. Picking the right stuff can’t be done by flipping through a catalogue, and we’re proud of the time we put into making the right choices. In the world of Covid however, this proved tough, and it is only one by one that we’ve managed to build our desired range, with something of quality and character for all.

Then, of course, there’s serving it. Intimacy, fine wine and candlelight are not things we associate with masks and sanitiser. Turning people away from a bar you’ve built to have them sit at is torture, and for the time being, hosting our renowned tastings is a fantasy. All the same, as with much of hospitality, we’ve rolled with the punches, and over the past year have hoped to create an environment that is warm and charming. When we’ve had to down tools during lockdowns, we’ve developed our online presence, sprucing up social media and creating a hot new website, through which many of our favourite products can be bought and delivered.

It has been a challenge, there’s no doubting it. But over the course of the past year, we’re delighted with the Vin Santo we’ve built, and that so many seem to enjoy (even behind the masks). In sunnier days, we know personal and group tastings will abound, the bar will be packed, and the booze will be in your hands, not hand gel. In the meantime, we’ll raise a quick on to the Friar, and get back to making it ready for you.

Amen.

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