It was Plato who first suggested ‘In Vino Veritas’ which literally translates to ‘In wine is truth’. Although probably not referring to pubs when he coined the phrase, I believe a huge amount can be said about a pub simply from the wine it serves.
Unfortunately, you do not have to travel far to come across a pub in Britain that is selling very average wine that is grossly overpriced or, worse still, pubs that sell stale wine that would be better used in the cooking than serving to customers looking to enjoy an evening out.
Despite this, it does appear that the bad old days of boxed wine on the counter or even the slightly warm Liebfraumilch served in the pub’s only, and rarely used, wine glass are behind us. Please don’t mistake me for a wine snob, as I’m equally put off by wine bars that are masquerading as pubs but there is clearly an opportunity for a middle ground of quality, well-kept and affordable wine in pubs.
This is evidenced in a survey from YouGov shows that when it comes to restaurants, wine came out as the most popular drink amongst customers and yet in pubs only 12% choose to drink red or white wine, well-behind figures for beer, lager, cider and even gin. Equally, a third of people drink wine at home and yet choose something else when out in the pub.
This could be about to change. On a recent visit to the Swan with some friends I was a little surprised when a male member of the group broke with tradition and ordered a glass of the ‘House White’. What was equally surprising was that his wine was poured directly from a specially installed tap at the bar. The wine did however arrive looking deliciously tempting, carefully chilled and in a carafe – all managed without the pretence of label reading or swilling around the mouth before selection.
It may be bold to suggest that this could be a whole new world of wine drinking in pubs but on chatting to Landlord David it appears the wine is carefully selected in Bordeaux, exclusively transported back to Marbury and kept in the perfect conditions ready to be served on such occasions.
The approach seems simple enough and not too dissimilar to the way they manage their beer in that it is well sourced, carefully looked after and served at the right temperature and in the right glass.
It’s not rocket science, but in my view if you’re drinking bad and poorly kept wine in a pub, it’s probably a good indicator for the pub as a whole. It may not be a popular opinion, but I believe that ‘in pub wine there is the truth’.