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Definition of winefly (noun):
a person who spends a lot of time in wine bars.

 

We are on a mission to seek out the most interesting wine bars across the UK. Not just tasked to work through a wine list, our aim is to introduce you to the array of independent and exciting wine bars on our doorsteps, waiting to be discovered.


If you’ve got a favourite neighbourhood wine bar for Winefly to review, do let us know!

The Grape Variety

This wine merchant and bar, located just inside the M25 in the leafy Surrey village of Chipstead is a hot spot for locals, regulars frequently found sipping a glass or two at the bar, on their way home.

It’s got everything we love, it’s small and independent; and comes with knowledgeable staff and wine that is neither pretentious nor pricey. There’s plenty to keep everyone sated, from old world classics and small winegrowers’ vintages that you cannot find at your local supermarket, to organic, biodynamic and vegan wines.

Date of visit

Summer 2021

Feels like…

A cosy, artisanal wine and tapas bolthole, parading as a quaint wine shop by day and buzzy wine bar by evening.

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Best for…

First date
Catching up with friends
Explorers of wine

Glasses

The Grape Variety offers wines from across the world that you would not find easily at your local store, it’s all about respecting and trying new wine without any pretention. The team love to support small scale producers and are keen to make your tasting adventure fun. During our visit we sipped our way through a Rathfinny Blanc de Blancs Brut from East Sussex, which was delightfully crisp with apple orchard notes and a smooth creamy brioche finish which went perfectly with the cheese board.

Love local wines?
Here, the focus is on independent producers who are known for their outstanding wines and value for money. At the time of our visit, in terms of English wines, the list included primarily sparkling wines from Rathfinny, Nyetimber, Hindleap, Fox & Fox, Simpsons and Stopham. English wines make up about 40% of the total sparkling wine sold at The Grape Variety and 2% of its still white wines.

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Plates
Don’t expect a restaurant with a big menu, it’s about simplicity here.  There are about five tables inside and a couple outside, and food is served from Thursday to Saturday only.  We love the idea of their Pizza pop up on Thursdays, courtesy of The Pizza Project and the Fine Wine Friday nights has our name on it to return.  Cheese and charcuterie boards are de rigeur at the moment for wine bars, and they are at their best here on Friday and Saturday evenings, think Moroccan veggie and vegan boards, baked camembert, patés and olives. All locally sourced and very moreish.  And news on the grapevine is that an expanded tapas style menu is on the cards this Autumn. 

The Team

A small enthusiastic and friendly team from the local community, most have been in the wine industry for years, filled with knowledge and passion for all things vini and viti-cultural.

The Buzz  
This is a local establishment where neighbours and friends gather to relax. It’s small enough to enjoy the peaceful green countryside opposite and strike up a conversation with a fellow diner or passing dog walker.  The Grape Variety feels part of a community that happily supports local food, wine and people.

Do you need to be a WineFly to drink here?  

There is no pressure here to be a wine buff, if you want a beer, ask for one.  The team are keen to share their love of wine, so it’s a great place to ask questions and expand your wine palate.  There are regular wine tasting evenings to learn more, from different wine regions and styles, to how to invest in wines and create your own collection.

Other pips ‘n pieces

We’ve heard that the team are opening a new store in Dorking in December 2021 which we look forward to exploring.  At their Chipstead establishment, there are plans to offer special tasting evenings alongside tapas boards and the venue can be hired out for private functions (the downstairs living room / tasting room area is ever so welcoming and cosy).

The Bottom Line
Wines by the glass from £7.50 (175ml)

Bottle wines from £9 (from the shop) or from £19 (from the bar)

*Please note, wines, dishes and prices are correct at time of visit and may be subject to change.

 

The Grape Variety
12 Chipstead Station Parade
Chipstead, Coulsdon

Surrey CR5 3TE

Open
Wednesday to Saturday
From 12pm to 10pm

thegrapevariety.com