A little background…
what we are
We are Italian Wine Merchants. We buy directly from the wine cellar, mostly from small artisan producers, and sell directly to the general public (you and I).
You can buy wine online from us, over the phone or by email - or visit us at our warehouse in person.
We started trading in 1994, a classic kitchen table and van operation that started simply in Uppingham, Rutland and has now travelled all the way to ……. the outskirts of Oakham, also in Rutland, the smallest county in England! This is not as bad as it sounds, as we weren’t in Uppingham very long before we upped sticks and moved to Staffordshire, where we remained until 2003.
We have always been a pared down business, as all the frills are found in the stock. At first, we aimed to sell cricket bats as well as a range of wines. The cricket side has been and gone, wine remains a passion, but a much more focused one. We caught the Italian bug badly thanks to a chance meeting and an introduction to the late Felicita Pask-Hughes, a charming Italian lady who came to Britain after the war. She had a remarkable eye for quality and was fearless in the wines she imported. In a time of straw-wrapped bottles of Chianti, she was importing Isole e Olena and Sassicaia. Ben was told (by Felicita) that we should buy her business. We did and the dye was cast.
Felicita’s influence on us, helped by a six month journey round Italy, means that our emphasis is mostly, but not completely, on the wines of that country. Whether from Italy, Spain or Portugal however, we have developed a taste for wines made by men and women who cherish the history and traditions of their hills and valleys. Such individuals make wines with a sense of place and unique character. We aspire to follow our mentor’s lead and do not buy wines for our customers – we find customers for our wines. We try to be serious when buying, but never too serious when selling.
who we are
Ben has always worked in the wine trade, though he still harbors an ambition to be a demolition expert. He buys the wine and sells it, designs and writes the literature and continues to be chief cook and bottle washer. He sneaks in the odd game of cricket too.
Emma has a background in administration and warehouse management, she makes sure things happen and systems work. She claims to have a ‘Barbie’ palate and little product knowledge, a useful scam to avoid having to write tasting notes. She has kept the business on the rails and is by far the better Italian speaker.
Our thanks are always with you and all of our customers. Please keep talking to us, buying from us and coming back for more!
Thanks to our extremely patient parents, especially memories of Malcolm in his role as part-time warehouseman, John for a reliable flow of sound advice, some of which we had the sense to take, and Ten, for a life-time of cover of the more familial duties so often neglected by the pair of us.
For their care and hours of hard labour, we thank: Helen Allerton, Gill Smith, Pippa Sale, Dick Haszard, Matt Gregory, Alex and all of the O'Haras and last but not least, Sue Wild, for such longstanding, unswerving loyalty and support.
Thanks to Stuart Williamson and Steve Shaw for offering a steadying hand and opportunity; and in particular to Andrew Castell for a life-time of relentless and most excellent proof reading.
Most of all thanks to Polly and Rosie, as without them it may just have been a business.