Retirement paves way for wine venture

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Jon and Sarah Keast (left and right) celebrate the launch of Scarlet Wines business with former Old Forge owners David and Janet Moran
Jon and Sarah Keast (left and right) celebrate the launch of Scarlet Wines business with former Old Forge owners David and Janet Moran

A long-established pottery at Lelant near St Ives is all set for a new lease of life with a change of ownership and the launch of a new wine venture by a local couple.

Jon and Sarah Keast, of St Ives, have purchased The Old Forge pottery site as base for their new company, Scarlet Wines Ltd,

Originally a forge – with the steel disk used to make wagon wheel rims still present – the site has been in the same ownership for the last 30 years.

But now the Keasts are retiring from making and selling pots, and have just won planning permission for changes that will lead to a new role for the building.

Work will start shortly on the changes, which include conversion of part of the building into a café, new doors and windows throughout, new customer toilets and other internal works.

Within the next few days, they plan to open part of their shop and launch their new web site, scarlet-wines.co.uk. Completion of the café and totally refurbished shop will follow several weeks later.

The couple are bidding for a breakthrough in appreciation of Italian wines, as Jon Keast explained: “We will have a great selection of wines that you won’t see on the supermarket shelves. We will stock wines from across the world but plan to specialise a little in Italian wines, which is a much underexplored market in the UK.

He added: “We don’t just want to sell wine; we want to create an environment where people can come and relax, share a coffee or a glass of wine and maybe something to eat. A lot of wine shops feel a bit intimidating, but we aim to be the opposite.”

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