Caravino – it speaks for itself

Posted on: 31st August, 2017

Category: Features

Contributor: West Cork People

So let me get this straight. I can go around the world on a virtual wine tour while sitting in a caravan? In West Cork? Will there be food to match? Will I learn something new? Does it move…like do we actually travel to another location? Is it one of those cool, cute caravans with bunting like on Pinterest?’

These are some of the questions asked about Caravino since the supplement, ‘A Taste of West Cork Food Festival, 2017’ was published.

The Caravino was just a caravan up-to recently. A lovely, small, old-fashioned caravan, which was sitting quietly on a second-hand lot waiting for the right person to come along. Local woman Maeve Bancroft drove past the lot a few times, and each and every time the caravan caught her eye. It was the shape of it and the size. And nice memories of holidays on a pier in Rosmuc, Connemara. It was worth stopping – just for a look.

‘Go on away up, it’s not locked. Just be careful as the stabilisers aren’t down,’ said the garage man, as he twirled his silver spanner on his blackened, hard-working hands.  The door stuck a little at first but then opened with a sigh. It was warm and small and quiet and old-fashioned. And perfect.

Suddenly the possibilities were endless: it could be a handy spare bedroom for visitors; a creative space taken to an inspiring location for a day; a place to sit with a cup of tea away from the madness and mess of the house; a place to have a glass of wine and a chat with friends; and, oh yes, a mobile holiday-location device – a caravan.

It all made perfect sense! And even better, Maeve’s husband was on a three-day work trip so it would be a lovely surprise for him to arrive home and find a caravan sitting in the driveway (and blocking the bin pathway to the road…never measure with out-stretched arms, use a tape-measure).

The price was requested, bargaining attempted, savings in the credit union checked – it was do-able. It was all falling into place. Obviously it was ‘meant to be’. As Maeve didn’t have a hitch on her car, and couldn’t back a caravan into a driveway anyway, the garage-man delivered the caravan (he seemed to sigh with relief as he drove off).  The husband arrived back later that night and it was as if he knew; he had brought a lovely bunch of colourful, wooden flowers, which are perfect inside the sunny, plastic window. The caravan was given a wipe-down. The brown and cream 1970s curtains were put into a gentle wash where they disintegrated. They were completely shredded on retrieval from the 30-degree wash and as they dried on the line they fell apart into dust. It seems that there had been some trips to campsites in Cork and Kerry. The campsite receipts were found on a shelf, and we can only assume that a good time was had by all.

The good times have continued. Friends called for coffee and were directed to the caravan. Friends called for a glass of wine and where else would you be, but in the cosy caravan. It’s a perfect size to chat. Maeve and her friend Fionnuala, who is a wine expert, in fact she works for Wines Direct, talked of it being a perfect location for a small wine tasting with foods to match. Fionnuala has the training but, more importantly, the passion and love for food and wine. She knows the stories of the growers of the grapes, the soil that they farm, the splicing, the harvesting, the casks and so on. She knows the foods that they prepare to eat with their wines. Both women like to cook, eat and drink nice wine. Both women like old linen and china, which are used regularly. Friends and family and gatherings and celebrations of life events are important. More talk…the idea grew organically and Caravino was born.

So yes, you can sit in a small caravan in West Cork and be taken on a virtual wine tour of the world with tasty tapas to match. You will learn something new. You don’t move physically during the wine tour. However, the Caravino is available for events in other locations.

Most importantly. No, it is not a cutesy caravan. It’s an old-fashioned caravan. Don’t think bright colours, Pinterest and music-festival type caravan. Think instead of Father Ted. Think of hell. The Father Ted episode ‘Hell’, with Graham Norton aka Father Noel Furlong Irish dancing in the caravan on the side of a field. Think of an Irish summer holiday circa 1970s with the rain hitting the windows horizontally and the wind howling through the telephone wires like a weird symphony on drugs. Think soggy cornflakes and an endless game of Monopoly. Think of opening the door where the half door slams in the wind. Think of putting on wet togs and then the joy of jumping off a pier at high tide and swimming in the lashing rain.

It more that type of caravan, than cool. But comfortable and warm with nice wine and food and the lovely old cloths and china that have been given by mothers, aunts and grandmothers or picked up in charity shops.

If the Father Ted type caravan doesn’t put you off, then you’re the perfect type of customer for Caravino.

Please note: one doesn’t have to have experienced a rainy Irish summer holiday in a caravan to enjoy the Caravino experience. All nationalities welcome.

CARAVINO – Vintage Caravan, Astna Square, Clonakilty, Sunday, September 10, from 12:30pm: Take a virtual journey through the wine regions of the world while relaxing in a gorgeous vintage caravan. This intimate setting is ideal for a group of close friends (minimum four / maximim six per sitting). Savour delicious tasty tapas dishes expertly matched with gorgeous wines in this cute, unique and atmospheric little space under the trees in Asna Square. Each sitting is approximately 1.30 hours and bookings will be staggered throughout the afternoon and early evening. Booking essential.

To book email or call Maeve on 087 6810189.


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