A WINE connoisseur has opened his own wine and tapas bar.

Rowan Hunter left his job as general manager at the Mistley Thorn to open his own upmarket bar in neighbouring Manningtree high street.

The 30-year-old said he took the plunge to go it alone after seeing the town as a growing commuter area.

He said: “I grew up in Thorpe but have lived in Mistley for the past five years.

“I’ve been working in hospitality for the past nine years.

“I’ve overheard people saying they want something new and different and a lot of people are moving to the area and it’s becoming an affluent commuter belt for London.

“I thought an upmarket wine bar would meet that demographic.”

Rowan, who admits he is a bit of a wine connoisseur, will have mainly Italian and Spanish wines at his bar.

He added: “A lot of the wines are coming from Grape Passions, a small business in Witham and there are a few things you wouldn’t see on every wine list.

“I like to try different wines and different grape varieties - I’ve been to Italy five times and go on wine tours.”

Rowan hopes people will use Estuary Wine Bar as a before or after meal drinks and snacks venue.

It is currently open Thursday to Sunday evenings from 6pm with hopes to extend to other nights.