Falmouth’s fancy new wine bar oozes affordable sophistication

Falmouth’s fancy new wine bar is oozing sophistication without the weighty price tag to match.

Opposite The Moor in Falmouth, a stretch of new shops brings a burst of life to this historic market square.

Among them, a chic and inviting wine bar, where the walls are lined with over 220 bottles, has been attracting a growing customer base since it opened at the end of December.

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This trendy new arrival, Kernowine, is owned by husband and wife team Del and Tash Crookes, who moved from London to Cornwall in 2017.

Dev said: “I choose all the wines that we sell. We try to stock as many Cornish wines as possible, we have wines from five Cornish vineyards. We have various Cornish spirits too.

“And then the others come from each major region around the world.”

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While Kernowine sells some top-of-the-range fine wine, a 1980 Bordeaux going for £600 a pop, their average price range is between £10 and £20 pounds, with multiple options at just £7.

Wine is not your only option, with a range of Cornish ciders, beers, coffee and cocktails also there to tickle your fancy.

Kernowine has over 200 wines available

What’s more, Tash, head chef and cocktail-shaker, has designed an extensive and value-for-money food menu. On top of an array of Cornish cheeses, there are ‘sparkling breakfast’ options, frittatas and the choice of a Surf, Turf or Earth board for fish fans, meat lovers and veggies alike.

Dev said: “We picked Falmouth because it’s a happening town, it’s got a lot of buzz about it, more places opening, a neighbourhood behind us year round, locals to come back, strong footfall.

“We’ve already had lots of different types of people come in – students, young professionals, retired people, the people who live in the flats above. We didn’t want to just cater for one small group of people, it’s a lot broader.”

When the couple arrived in Cornwall, Dev put his journalism career to one side, embarking on a new adventure to take his lifelong love for wine to the next level.

After two years of studying, which involved both blind testing wines and scientific theory, Dev became accredited from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, giving him the confidence to open his own store.

“My parents always loved wine and they had a campsite in south Devon where there were multiple bars, so I’ve always been around hospitality.

Kernowine opened on 17 December 2021 on Killigrew Street in Falmouth
Kernowine opened on 17 December 2021 on Killigrew Street in Falmouth

“The course was very in-depth. We learnt everything from the history of wine-making to viticulture- growing the grapes, vinification- fermenting the wine and then the business side of the industry.”

Dev, who stays front-of-house, is on-hand to advise people on the different wines. He said: “There are so many lovely sorts of wine, I want to encourage people to try new things.

“There are 18 wines available by the glass. We will always select a mix of common ones and strange ones we hope that people will fall in love with.

“As part of the course, it has given me the confidence to know about wines, where they come from, how to describe the flavours, and so I can pick people’s brains to work out what they’d like.”

At the heart of Kernowine is an ethos underpinned by being sustainable, ethical and local.

Kernowine opened on 17 December 2021 on Killigrew Street in Falmouth
Kernowine opened on 17 December 2021 on Killigrew Street in Falmouth

They source as much of their produce as locally as possible, offer a refill system to reuse bottles and have a wine-preserving device to minimise waste. Their elegant menus are also made in Penwith from organic horse syrup.

Even the relaxing atmosphere is ‘locally-made’ with a designer from Penryn taking on the challenge of bringing Dev’s vision of a ‘Brooklyn-style’ wine bar to life.

From the cosy low-lighting to the cement-textured paint, the oak wood bar from St Just and the wine glasses hanging delicately like a chandelier, it has a perfect luxury, yet calming, atmosphere to melt away several hours.

The portfolio is expanding even further as Dev will soon run a masterclass experience, called Sauvignon Blanc and Beyond, for those interested in learning more about the wine and trying different variations of the classic.

However, while staying local has buffered the effects of supply-chain issues to a degree, both Brexit and Covid have brought inevitable challenges.

Yet Dev, whose spirit is undefeated, said: “I’m a bit mad to open anything in this current climate. It’s going to be hard, there’s no doubt about it, I know that, there’s competition, it’s getting the recognition and name out there at first that can be tough.

“But you get to a certain point where you have to do something for yourself and this is our thing for ourselves.”

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