Sunday, 18 December 2011

Arth Wines, Penarth

Stocking up on drink for the festive season? Don’t forget your independent off-licences and wine merchants.

Arth Wine Store in Penarth is one such place. This independent wine merchant, owned by Richard Silk, moved to its present location near Penarth Station in March 2010. You are sure to get a warm welcome. Richard is very knowledgeable, and happy to chat with customers: the sort of personal service you don’t get in a major retail chain.

The shop is situated in the Old Masonic Buildings (the more-recent Masonic Hall on Stanwell Road is now a restaurant and party venue). The modern restoration is sympathetic to the old building and provides a dramatic backdrop for the displays of wine, beer, ciders and soft drinks. The theatricality is completed by having a glass-fronted room within the room: a cooler space where much of the white wine and beer is kept.

Richard imports wine directly from smaller independent vineyards, which helps keep prices down and enables him to offer a different selection to other wine-selling outlets. The shop, in particular, is known for its selection of organic wines. It’s also the place to go for bio-dynamic wine, wine for vegans, and other alternative wine options.

Independent shops like Arth Wines are good when you’re looking for something a little different to serve guests, especially guests who look at wines and tell you what supermarkets they came from (do you know people like this?). Keep them guessing this Christmas. Good to see Arth wines stock Cock Hill, for instance, our local white wine made from grapes grown on a hillside in Leckwith, between Cardiff and Dinas Powys.

However, I went to Arth Wines last week to stock up on some local microbrewery beers.

I selected three Celt beers, from the Celtic Experience brewery in Caerphilly (est. 2007). The Bronze (4.5%), named after Bronze Age Celts, although it’s also a bronze colour; the Golden (4.2%), named after the Golden Age of the Celtic People, although it’s also a golden colour; and Bleddyn 1075 (5.6%), named after a Celtic ruler who died in 1075. Celt beers are made using organic ingredients. The Head Brewer is Tom Newman who, according to their website, is Caerphilly-born and West Country-raised, and likes drinking, rugby, learning Welsh and prawn racing.

My other selections were from Cardiff’s Untapped Brewery and the Vale of Glamorgan Brewery in Barry. They also stock beers from the Rhymney Brewery of Dowlais, near Merthyr Tydfil. The Otley Brewery in Pontypridd is having temporary bottling difficulties (Richard has a letter explaining the situation displayed by the beer section) and so their bottled brews are currently out of stock.

I’ll post some more on our local beers next year.

Arth Wines, Old Masonic Buildings, Station Approach, Penarth CF64 3EE

A previous post on Cock Hill wine:

Celtic beers:

Untapped Brewing Co:

Vale of Glamorgan Brewery:

Rhymney Brewery:

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