The atmosphere was electric and the emotion tangible at last night’s Paralympics closing ceremony at the Olympic Stadium.
As with every event I’ve attended, patriotic fervour for this “made in Britain” event spilled out of the stadia, onto the streets, the station and the city.
It was a night to remember. One tinged with sadness too, as the Paralympic flag came down and the flame was extinguished – we so wanted the Festival of the Flame to keep burning.
Many a conversation turned to what next, how will we cope after the games’ heady high – where can we channel our “made in Britain” patriotic fervour?
I have an answer for you. The Wine Pantry at Borough Market. As the name suggests, it’s a peculiarly english affair – in effect a glorified cupboard, choc-a-block with wines from this country.
Last week, I swung by to check out its wares the day after it won Decanter World Wine Awards Specialist Wine Merchant of the Year. Sitting at my table that night, owner Julia Stafford clearly hadn’t expected to win. Her reaction was not so very far removed from Hugh Grant’s famous opening salvo in Four Weddings & a Funeral!
Eyeing the groaning shelves and well-stoked ice bucket, I could well understand The Wine Pantry’s charm. Its pluck too. This time last year, Artisan & Vine won the International Wine Challenge English Wine Specialist of the Year for its efforts promoting the English wine industry, yet earlier this year it closed down, having struggled to make money in the recession.
So if you want to keep the flag flying, I can do no better than to recommend a visit to The Wine Pantry, where you can marvel at england’s growing crop of wines. And, as I did, salute a nation’s pluckiness of spirit with a glass of Avonleigh Organic Vineyard sparkling wine from Wiltshire. It takes a brave wine grower to eschew fungicides in our climate. It was excellent.