How did you come up with the concept?
The streetfood scene had hit London, but there wasn't anything similar for wine. There weren't many independent events or consumer tastings either. People wanted to drink better wine but were relying on supermarket's and reluctant to use independent shops. This is what gave me the idea for Wine Car Boot. We aim to provide a relaxed, engaging space that gives people the option to shop, taste, learn or just drink - and have fun. We swapped spittoons for a soundsystem and water biscuits for streetfood. Everyone should feel they can drink good wine, and that doesn't necessarily have to mean expensive, either.
Tell us about the pop-ups at St James's Market.
It's very similar to a farmers' market - all the featured shops have a stall where you can buy bottles to take away, taste samples with tokens or buy by the glass or bottle to enjoy right there. We have food from local restaurants; Café Murano bring their delicious fresh pasta and arancini; Paxton & Whitfield bring amazing cheese; while Tonkotsu steam Gyoza and Redchurch Brewery serve cold beers to cleanse the palate between wines. There's something for everyone whether youre a solo shopper, drinking with mates or bringing the family for a nice day out.
Why do you think St James's Market works so well for Wine Car Boot?
Well, we're right in the middle of the capital, surrounded by so much history and the beautiful architecture of St James's. It's very easy to get to, so we see a lot of regulars but also new people passing through. It has a real market vibe and weve had a warm welcome from all the local restaurants and businesses, too.
What kind of wines can visitors expect to try?
Most bottles retail for under £20, with plenty around the £10 mark too. We try to work with shops who have wines from authentic producers making wine in a sustainable way. There's every style from classic to quirky, new world, old world as well as the new wave bag-in-box, Bagnums and cans. We have a range of retailers, from long-standing local merchants such as Berry Bros & Rudd to new style stores specialising in a particular region or style.
Ruth's Tasting Tips:
Taste as much as possible, all the time. Open several bottles at once and drink them over several days to see how they compare. Most will last that long and you'll get a real understanding for how they each change and develop too.
Don't write-off a variety, country or region just because you tasted one bottle you didn't like.
Keep the wine in your mouth, swirl it round to get the most out of it - if you swallow straight away you'll miss a lot of the flavour and style.