Lori Shook may have the entire gardens of Kew at her fingertips, but she finds her inspiration in a much smaller nook of her neighbourhood, albeit not entirely devoid of floral attributes. Our indies wine-writing competition takes us south of the River Thames.
The Good Wine Shop in Kew, not far from famous Kew Gardens, is a true source of delight.
I enjoy wine but I have never enjoyed the snobbishness of some wine vendors. I have lived in California and France and love many of the wines from both places. But I think it's fascinating that the wine shop where I've felt the most comfortable, accepted and treated well, is at the Good Wine Shop in Kew near where I currently live in Greater London, UK.
The staff are always welcoming and friendly and they are as knowledgeable as any wine vendor I have ever met. They absolutely know their grapes, regions, history and vintages and can talk about wine to anyone – from novices to connoisseurs. I feel like an accepted friend when I walk in the door. The staff now know me, have learned my tastes and are often pointing me to wines I would like from different regions. For example, they don't scoff at my penchant for California style oaky Chardonnays, which I've heard have gone a bit out of fashion - but not here, at least not while I'm in the shop. The other day I was in search of an oaked white and Sarah pointed me to a Portuguese white that was part Chardonnay and part native grapes. It was excellent, satisfied my California yearnings and was inexpensive as well. That, to me, is great customer service and why I will keep going back despite many other options in the neighbourhood.
Many times I've gone in with a food-wine dilemma: I'm cooking a goose for Christmas, or having a Thanksgiving turkey with all the savoury fixings, or having a mixed grill BBQ party and I need a wine or wines to match. Sarah, Pippa or Mark have always had something interesting and appropriate to suggest. As a result, I've expanded my tastes in wines, have found myself drinking Italian whites (which I previously avoided at all costs), sparkling pinks, wines made by a Bulgarian man who lives part-time nearby, and a whole selection of delightful red, white and pink discoveries from around the world.
The Good Wine Shop stocks a wide variety of old world and new world wines, sparkling wines, some spirits and interesting beers as well. My husband appreciates their broad knowledge of single malt and blended scotches. They hold wine tastings several times per year with at least 30 different wines on offer, often poured by experts from a particular region. So there is always something new to learn about grapes, producers or wine regions.
Their attentive customer service extends to regular email notices of specials, classes, wine clubs, new wines in the shop and their frequent tasting events. Their delivery service is simple and efficient.
I have to say that The Good Wine Shop is a significant part of what I enjoy about living in this area.
The Good Wine Shop, Kew
2 Royal Parade, Station Approach
Greater London TW9 3QD
tel +44 (0)208 940 4482