Covid-19 Policy


HNY, DotY, Quiz Answers, Shop Closure Times, WotY and a BIG Thank You

As we approach the turn of the year it is time for some announcements – Dog of the Year 2021, Wines of the Year 2021, the answers to the ever-so-challenging Christmas Quiz and the opening hours (or perhaps I should say closure times) of the shop over the coming days. We finish up with a big personal thank you to all of you – our lovely customers – who make the running of our little wine shop so enjoyable. Happy New Year everyone, have fun!


May we take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year. Whatever the days ahead holds for you, enjoy yourselves. We are all hoping (as we were last year) that the turn of the year will herald in a new era of freedom, only time will tell. Ordinarily I would be in Burgundy next week for the tasting of the new vintage, but alas this will be missed for the second year in a row. We have all had to curtail our plans for the safety of ourselves and those around us.
Have a great time with your celebrations, be safe and here’s wishing you all the very best for 2022!

Dog of the Year 2021

And now to the nearly impossible task of selecting Dog of the Year 2021. I suspect it is a bit like being asked to pick your favourite child (not difficult for me as I don’t have any of those), or even worse your favourite bottle of wine (near impossible) but a decision has to be made. After three committee meetings, several bottles of wine and three laps of the car park to make absolutely sure we have made the right decision, the trophy for Dog of the Year is being handed from the 2020 winner, Mr Hector the Victorious, to our 2021 winner, Mr Jackson the Triumphant.
Jackson the Triumphant – Dog of the Year 2021
Jackson has been a frequent visitor to the shop, mostly with his best pal Douglas. So regular have their visits been that:

a) they know exactly where the treats are
b) they know which treats they like best, and those that come a sorry second
c) they think they run the shop and are often vocal when someone (including paying customers) enters ‘their shop space’

The fact that Jackson won 3rd place in the Most Handsome Dog competition with me at this years Whichford Show might also have something to with it – a proud moment for dog, owners and myself together. Thanks to Tim and Debs for being such regular visitors and sharing your dogs and some great bottles with us.

Congratulations to Jackson, and by association Douglas too, for taking this year’s top spot as Dog of the Year 2021

Christmas Quiz – the answers

Last week we ran Amanda’s Christmas Quiz and from some of the comments we have had back I think it is time we revealed the answers. I am sure you all did very well. But to be sure, see below:
1. Which alcohol is traditionally added to the base of a Christmas trifle?
2. A swede is a cross between which two vegetables?
A turnip and cabbage (Ed: seriously?)
3. From which country does the Christmas drink Eggnog originate?
4. What should you eat one of for each of the 12 days of Christmas if you want good luck?
A mince pie (Ed: only ‘one’ each day?)
5. What drink, invented by Francis Showering, has a fawn mascot?
Babycham (Ed: still available? Surely not….)
6. Who served up figgy pudding in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol?
Mrs Cratchit
7. Which alcoholic ingredient is used in a Snowball cocktail?
Advocaat (Ed: another potential addition to the weird spirits section perhaps?)
8. What is the name of the German yeast cake often served at Christmas?
9. According to the tradition, where are you supposed to hide the Christmas pickle?
In the Christmas tree
10. Which of the Sheldon’s team has the most festive name (and we’re not talking cowboy films!)?
Carol! (Ed: of course! Our very own Christmas helper, Carol is really in charge when it comes to Christmas in the shop)

New Year’s Closure and Reopening 8th January 2022 – a final reminder

Following a fun three days of serving you all in the days “inbetwixtmas”, we are now closed for the New Year. We are also closed next week for the annual stocktake, an exercise we throughly enjoy (not) but it is a necessary step to ensure we have confidence in our stock levels for the year ahead. It also allows us to assess the balance of wines we have across the different wine making regions of the world, informing us as to where we place our investments in the months ahead.
We will reopen on Saturday 8th January 2022 where our opening hours will return to normal.
We are looking forward to seeing you back in the shop in January and hearing all of your festive tales. We will also help you find the right bottles to help you through the gloomy days ahead while we wait for spring to appear.

Wine(s) of the Year 2021

I have asked each member of the team to offer up their wine of 2021. The parameters were simple: a wine you love to sell in the shop and/or a bottle you think has been a valued addition to the range in the year. This is not a list of our favourite drinkers, but is instead a selection of wines we are particularly proud of. Here goes:
It has to be Rezabal Txakoli for me. This wine comes from the Basque region of Spain, not a well known wine producing region. When we tried this light, spritzy yet delicious white wine we were a little nervous about bringing it into the shop, wondering who would buy it. Having convinced a handful of you to try it, it has now become a firm favourite. And at £13 a bottle it is a ‘no-guilt’ mid-week treat.

Since starting here 3 months ago I have been watching the team talk to customers and learning all the time. One bottle that stands out for me is Chateau Le Gardera, a wine we consider our ‘house’ Claret. Whilst available by the bottle we mostly sell it by the case. No surprise considering the price is just £12.95 a bottle (or £26.95 a magnum) – a real bargain!

Easy one for me – Vinsobres, the Southern Rhone wine from the Perrin family. Since we started showing this blind at the monthly Cellar Tours it has been flying out. It is the most affordable of the Perrin wines we hold (£17.95/bottle) and has all the hallmarks of much more expensive wines from the same area, and from the rest of the world for that matter.

For me there is only one answer: Sheldon’s Champagne. The quality of the Champagne in the bottle for the price is phenomenal. In 2020 it outsold every other wine in the shop by at least two and a half times, I am looking forward to seeing how it did in 2022 (but we have an idea based on the lack of bottles we have left in the shop!)

Earlier on in 2021 we were sent a box of samples, all in 50cl bottles. Included in the selection were the wines of the Italian Tuscan producer, Querciabella. We had the opportunity to try all of the range side by side, and we stock the excellent Camartina which is down in the cellars (£85/bottle), but the standout wine for me was their wine called Mongrana. A Sangiovese with Bordeaux varieties in the blend, this is such high quality for such a silly price (£16.95). Superb and a worthy addition to the range!


As a final note, I want to say a huge thank you to all of you lovely people who visit the shop and buy lovely wines from us. It has been another testing year for all, with much uncertainty and the threat of the virus hanging over us. Despite this you have continued to pitch up and shop for great bottles. Not wanting to sit on our laurels in the quieter periods, we have made further improvements to the shop over the course of the last 12 months, including an expansion of the range of wines we hold (Esther estimates another 500 lines, I am in trouble), upgrades to the security and CCTV systems that help us secure the stock and of course the onboarding of Jude, our newest member of the team. We are proud to say we haven’t skipped a single day, even when team members have had to isolate due to Covid.
It is your visits and your custom that makes a business like ours. Without you we would not survive as a shop, but more’s the point, we wouldn’t enjoy what we do. You have all been great, engaging with us to find you the best bottles for whatever occasions you have had over the last 12 months. So a HUGE thank you to all of you for your unwavering support in 2021.
Our quest to continuously upgrade our wine selection remains unabated and we shall systematically work our way through the range of wines we hold and replace with higher quality wines as we find them. We already have big plans for 2022, including the expansion and upgrading of our spirits section with a special focus on Whiskies, the introduction of wines from countries in Eastern Europe (Hungary, Georgia and Romania to name a few) and somehow finding space for some of the wines we have already acquired from South America and the USA that we have hidden in the warehouse because we couldn’t find room for them in the shop or cellars. I also want to take a look at the wines we hold from Australia, with the help of a specialist in a similar way to that which we upgraded our South African selection (thank you Richard for all of your help with SA in the last 12 months).
Our commitment to you to find fabulous wines and the best possible prices is absolute. Our mission to become a destination wine shop for the discerning wine lover is not yet fully realised, there is still plenty of work for us to do. We are grateful to have you to continue this journey with us and help us fulfil our ambitions. Thank you.
The majority of you will be getting into the swing of things as you read this, readying yourself for the evening ahead hopefully with a glass in hand. Our regular readers, John, James and family in Australia will already be well into 2022!
Here’s wishing every one of you a happy and prosperous New Year. We look forward to seeing you when we reopen on January 8th.

Shane, Amanda, Jude, Esther, Nigel, Trish and Carol

Your New-Years-loving, quiz-contented, Jackson-congratulating wine team at Sheldon’s Wine Cellars

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