Kent-based food hall invests in dedicated wine outlet

Macknade, the food hall in Faversham, Kent, has added a wine retail outlet called Macknade Wine & Spirits, offering more than 400 wines.

The outlet, which sits alongside the food hall, stocks the full portfolio of wines made in Kent, in addition to a wide range of both old and new world wines. The shop also stocks more than 60 spirits and it has plans to increase its range of wines made from organic and biodiverse grapes as well as exploring options for refillable wines.

Macknade Wine & Spirits was previously an outlet known as Hercules, and independent wine merchant. Sarah Dunn will continue to run Hercules Wines but will concentrate on its wholesale operation and will retail only from the company’s original premises in Sandwich, Kent.  

Finn Dunlop, Macknade’s general manager, said: “I think we must have the strongest representation of Kentish wines in the country alongside a great selection of new and old world wines. With the opening of Macknade Wine & Spirits we have expanded our wine collection from around 40 wines to over 400. We want to replicate the range available in our food hall so there will be some fantastic fine wines, alongside experimental wines, new grape varieties and family favourites.

"We really want to break the mould and stretch imaginations to explore new varieties and vineyards. There will be many more wine-tasting events in the Macknade events calendar, collaborating brands so far include Chapel Down and Simpsons Wine Estate.

“We are dedicated to maintaining strong relationships with the winemakers, who are invited to come in regularly and conduct tastings for customers. Macknade Wine & Spirits has positioned itself as a conduit between the customer and the producer, which provides interesting insight for customers and a feedback opportunity for the winemaker.

"We are in the business of introducing people to new wines, encouraging our customers to explore different grapes, new varieties and styles of wine. For us, nothing is frowned upon, it is about exploring new flavours together.”

The Faversham-based food hall celebrated its 40th birthday this year. The Anglo-Italian business has been in the same family for six generations, but it was not until 1979 that they began retailing, starting with Macknade Farm Shop, which later became Macknade Fine Foods. The business now comprises a 10,000 sq ft food hall, delicatessen, café and butcher.

Dunlop said: “It was a natural progression to bring our wine offering in line with what our customers have come to expect from the wide variety and choice you experience at Macknade. We have a broad butchery section, more than 200 cheeses and an enormous deli counter; Macknade’s extensive Anglo-Italian food hall is famous beyond Kent. And I am particularly excited about Macknade Wine & Spirits as I come from a wine retail background and I am looking forward to putting that knowledge and experience to good use.”

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