Berry Bros & Rudd is the grand old man of St. James’s, family-owned and still trading from the very spot it in which it was established in 1698. Berrys’ has the most innovative and informative website of any wine merchant, anywhere in the world, and boasts an unrivalled seven Masters of Wine.
Corney & Barrow is one of the UK’s bluest of blue chip wine merchants with an agency list to die for, including Champagne Salon, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Château Pétrus. But they work hard at the other end of their list too and their range of house wines is one of spectacular value.
FromVineyardsDirect, founded by David Campbell of the Everyman Library and Esme Johnstone, founder of Majestic, is internet-based and, as such, manages to keep costs low. Famous for its canny purchases, such as its declassified or ‘defrocked’ clarets, FromVineyardsDirect always has something tasty for us up its sleeve.
Private Cellar, based north east of Cambridge, recently celebrated its tenth anniversary by being voted the UK’s Best Independent Wine Merchant. Its short but carefully chosen list is one of enviable quality and the Private Cellar service is reassuringly attentive and personal.
Tanners of Shrewsbury, soon to celebrate its 175th birthday, is a traditional family-run and – as they themselves put it – resolutely independent wine merchant. Although particularly strong on Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne, Tanners also stocks eye-catchingly fine wines from the New World and champions emerging or reinvigorated regions of Europe.
The Wine Company in Colchester is an off-shoot of the much-loved Lay & Wheeler and remains in the hands of fifth and sixth generation wine merchant Wheelers. With an emphasis on excellent quality wine for everyday drinking, the Wine Co’s offers are always hugely popular.
Yapp Bros is famously strong on the Loire, Rhône and quirkier, even forgotten, corners of France thanks to the efforts of the veritable wine hound that is Jason Yapp. There are wines on Yapps’ list that just cannot be found anywhere else. If Jason hasn’t sourced and tasted it, then it simply doesn’t exist.
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