A Cornish wine seller has been named the best independent wine merchant in the UK by leading drinks title Harpers Wine & Spirit.
This is the second consecutive year that Padstow-based BinTwo has won the prestigious title. The boutique wine shop and bar was announced as the winner at a virtual event on Friday 11 September.
Recognised for its unique approach to customer service, BinTwo has continued to show consistency and innovation over the last year, earning a reputation as one of the go-to places to drink and socialise when visiting the north Cornish harbour town.
Owner Mike Boyne said: “I thought it was pretty inconceivable that we would make the top spot again this year – how wrong was I? This is such a massive accomplishment for my team, and I am so proud of them for their spirit of adventure which has enabled us to achieve so much this year”.
“Our aim is to make people feel welcome and comfortable. Wine shops can be intimidating, so we have designed the whole customer experience to avoid that feeling.”
When lockdown hit the business adapted quickly – rebuilding its online shop to create a sustainable mail order service which allowed its customers to purchase from a hand-picked selection of wines to treat themselves at home.
Mike had been working with Trevibban Mill vineyard on producing Cornwall’s first pét nat. Named Fizzy Bum Bum (yes really), the first batch of the naturally sparkling wine, with flavours of strawberry, grapefruit and peach, was released at the start of spring – and sold out within just a few weeks.
Reimagining its customer-focused outdoor dining space was all part of the team’s preparations for reopening in July. Mike continued: “We created some self-contained outdoor booth seating, where our aim was to build something people perceive as an exciting improvement which also happens to be COVID safe. We wanted it to be cosy and appealing rather than clinical, and I think we have achieved that.”
Many industry professionals hold BinTwo in high regard, praising Mike on how he and his team engage with customers and peers in the wine community.
Renowned drinks columnist Kate Hawkings said: “This is so well deserved. BinTwo is a great local wine shop and bar with a list of really interesting and exciting wines that reflect the boundless enthusiasm and knowledge of Mike and his team.”
“For those of us not fortunate to live nearby, I speak from experience when I say BinTwo’s mail order service is exemplary, and they go out of their way with a personal touch to suggest wines to fit any brief. They’ve embraced the challenges of COVID with characteristic energy and creativity, and I’m delighted to see them rightfully rewarded on this list.”
Also complimentary of the way BinTwo is run, The Guardian’s wine writer Fiona Beckett said: “I think the key to Mike’s success is that he doesn’t regard his business as a ‘them and us’ situation – indie trader on the one hand, people to influence on the other. We’re all in a glorious conversation about wine together. It’s not forced. It’s just who and how he is and entirely natural. Plus he has interesting wines to talk about, it goes without saying.”
Mike and his team continue to evolve BinTwo, with plans for making their own orange wine and vermouth this year. They have also introduced a new concession model, partnering with deli-style local businesses to improve their wine range and provide expertise on food and wine pairings.
For more information, visit bintwo.com.
(Main photo credit: Sean Gee)