Taste, nibble and, when you are convinced, shop: enjoying wine can’t get any better.
This multifunctional wine shop, deli and bar is a medium-sized space with a view over Albert Dock. The vaulted ceiling, exposed bricks and metal pillars give you the impression it is a perfect environment to stock wine.
Perspex stools, red and black couches and light wood low tables furnish the space, while the walls are decorated by pop prints and paintings, which are actually for sale. The focus of Vinea is immediately clear: a tall wine rack occupies one entire wall, its function of shop and bar is very evident. A few outdoor seats add a little bit of room.
Wine lovers of all ages stop by here often, not many other places offer the same selection of great bottles as Vinea and for anybody mildly interested in wine, this place is a must-see.
Many customers are in their 40s and above but there is no real set atmosphere here, since Vinea is also a shop and anybody is welcome. The staff are friendly, knowledgeable and helpful: let them guide you towards a wine you have never heard of before and you will not regret it. There’s enjoyable music during the day and even live acoustic acts on Thursdays and Sundays.
Vinea takes a rather conservative approach to wine, so do not expect to find bizarre countries on the list. They mostly stick to the classic grape producing areas: new and old world, even if you can still buy a bottle from Lebanon and Vinho Verde from Portugal.
The list is very long and you are encouraged to ponder before picking something. The wine available by the glass is really good and it allows you to sample some of the treasures of Vinea, like the Viu Manet Malbec, Colchagua Chile. With small glasses at £3.25-£4.60 and large ones priced £4.35-£6.10, this is the cheapest way to sample a bottle before taking it home.
However, you will be left tempted by the long list of wines available by the bottle only. These are listed by countries, with France separated by different areas grapes. The price, at least, will help you make up your mind: the range goes from a super cheap £5 to a ritzy £63 (for a Brunello Di Montalcino Fanti) and this is when you actually buy the bottle to consume at home. If you decide to uncork it at the bar, expect a price hike, about double for the cheap bottles to about £7-£10 pounds for the most expensive: on average a bottle costs around a third extra if you drink it at the bar.
For bubbly lovers, Vinea has a lot to offer too, with no less than fourteen champagnes and sparkling wines. You can pick your price starting at £9 and going up to a £230 (yes, it is the notorious Cristal).
Vinea is the wine paradise but if you really have to drink beer, rest assured that they do not disappoint in this department either. Pick between Wairsteiner Pils, Chimay, Black Ship Ale, Tsingtao, Erdinger Weiss and the trendy Cusquena.
Nibble? Why not! Vinea is also a deli! And they are just as serious about food - which is also available to take home - as they are their wine. They only sell British cheese (the only exception is a 30 month old Parmesan), Basque salami, and a wide range of olives make up some of the other deli goodies.
You can taste the goods if you order a meat or cheese platter (£5-10), or if you select individual items. Do you want your olives Pistou and pitted or stuffed with feta (£2.75-£5.75)? Alternatively, go for the Harissa almonds or the Siena nuts (£2.25-£4).
With more substantial options also available, you can choose between the very best bar food you can imagine.
The Last Word
Any aspiring food and wine connoisseur will make regular stops at Vinea. And even if your interest is not so strong, this is the best place to taste and learn something new.