Meet our Champion for Tipple Norfolk...
Published: Wednesday 8th Mar 2017
Written by: Norfolk Champion
Johnny Wyndham, Owner of VanVino.
VanVino hosts all sorts of events from corporate wine evenings to the latest private gin tastings or Norwich Gin Club gatherings, to parties that embrace the underground Rum revolution.
Let’s find out more about our county’s tipple tasting expert…
How long have you lived in Norfolk?
I have lived here all my life - born in Norwich at 2am on 12.08.1984 (the Glorious 12th).
Explain the story behind your business…
I initially took the ‘sensible’ route in life, with a corporate career. But, during board meetings, I would often find my mind wandering back to my upbringing in a large, close-knit family of food and drink connoisseurs, history buffs and storytellers. We loved nothing more than after-dinner get-togethers to entertain each other with large tales over small snifters. It was during one of these mind-wanderings that the idea for VanVino was born and I immediately started plotting my great corporate escape to the life I dreamed of. However, it would be many years and quite a journey before VanVino became a reality. The rest, as they say, is history-in-the-making…
If you had to advise someone visiting Norfolk three things they must not miss, what would they be and why?
Only allowed to choose three…
- Hiring a boat on the Norfolk Broads. The Norfolk Broads and the wetland surrounding them are fabulous. I have spent many a happy Sunday afternoon either on a boat on the Broads or enjoying lunch or a lazy pint in one of the many pubs which are located on the water’s edge. Magic scenery and wildlife: I am yet to meet an unhappy person whilst boating. Perhaps it is something in the water!
- If you like your real ale you have to visit the Fat Cat in Norwich. It is mine and my dad’s favourite drinking hole. It has a brilliant atmosphere and the best selection of real ales I have tasted (not all in one go). Plus the rolls are just £0.60p! The Fat Cat has won Camra National Pub of the Year twice and also won The Good Pub Guide Beer Pub of the Year a record six times!
- A day trip to Wells-next-the-Sea. I have been going to Wells since I was 11. Crabbing at the harbour is a particular fond memory of mine. Wells has it all: lovely beach walks which meander into the forests, 2p machines and entertainment at the harbour, fresh donuts and tasty fresh fish and chips to enjoy. There is a great selection of restaurants and pubs in the town. I highly recommend it to all.
Norfolk has a 93-mile coastline. Which is your favourite beach and what is so special about it?
Winterton is my favourite beach. It was here that the now Mrs Wyndham accepted my proposal of marriage when I went down on one knee in the sand dunes. Incredible scenery and a very “natural” beach. It is a must for wildlife lovers.
What’s your favourite Norfolk tipple and why?
There are far too many tipples I enjoy, it’s tricky to choose just one! I adore Pell & Co’s Hopton gin at the moment. Norfolk Gin is another beauty and would make a great souvenir. On the wine front we are spoilt for choice in Norfolk as we are lucky to have a range of refreshing and light Bacchus. If I had to choose: Humbleyard Vineyard in Mulbarton (just outside Norwich) produce a stunning white wine.
What’s your favourite event on the Norfolk calendar, and why?
One of my favourite events in Norfolk is Fakenham Races on New Year’s Day. It is a fantastic day out with friends and family and just the way to start the New Year. As you can imagine it can be cold, but one must dress up warm and load the car up with lots of tasty goodies for a picnic. The facilities at the racetrack are great and you can get really close to the action. The track is open for other meets during the year and they too are a lot of fun.