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50 Best Indies 2020

Published:  11 September, 2020

Padstow’s Bin Two has romped home for a second year running with top placing in our 50 Best Indies 2020 list.

This small but perfectly-formed hybrid merchant joined fellow top 10 indies during a live webinar earlier today (11 September), where the countdown from 10 to the coveted No. 1 took place.

Beating Luvians (No. 2) and Oxford Wine Company (No. 3) to clinch the top spot in this hard contested annual celebration, Bin Two’s team were clearly delighted with their success, with the atmosphere of indie-camaraderie further enhanced by all-round toasts of Gosset Champagne.

The company was singled out once more for “its innovation, creativity, community-focused ethos, marketing flair and championing the unusual”, with our judges adding, “roll on our 50 Best Indies 2020 list and owner Mike Boyne and his team have once again delivered on all this and more”.

The webinar marked the final countdown in a week that has seen the results released in tranches of 10 each day, with the much-anticipated results providing a showcase for the best independent wine merchants in the UK.

During the final live session each of these merchants was asked to reveal a little of the personality and strategy behind the success of their business, which you can watch on Harpers website or via the link here. A full write up on the 50 Best Indies 2020 is also now out with our digital edition, again up on harpers.co.uk. 

In addition to being judged on a host of far-reaching attributes from company ethos, range and innovation, this year’s 50 Best Indies also considered the agility and adaptability shown by businesses in the face of the pandemic in what has been a most extraordinary year.

The Harpers team would like to again extend a massive and hearty congratulations to all of our top 10, along with all the fantastic merchants that made it onto our 50 Best Indies 2020 list this year, as listed below.

We’d also like to thank our generous sponsors, Louis Latour Agencies and Lanchester Wines, for partnering on this year's awards and making it all possible.

Well done all and we hope to see many of you back next year.



The Judges

Joe Fattorini 

Presenter,
The Wine Show

Nik Darlington

Director,
Graft Wine Company

Nicky Forrest

Managing director, Phipps PR 

Mark Roberts

Director of sales, Lanchester Wines 

Rebecca Fraser

Head of marketing, Louis Latour Agencies

Lee Sharkey

Publisher, Harpers Wine & Spirit

Andrew Catchpole

Editor, Harpers Wine & Spirit

 


Harpers 50 Best Indies 2020




1 Bin Two, Padstow (Best in UK)

Last year this hybrid nook of a merchant was singled out for its innovation, creativity, community-focused ethos, marketing flair and championing the unusual, with big plans to continue to make a splash in a fun way that punches far above its size. Roll on 2020 and owner Mike Boyne and his team have once again delivered on all this and more. New bottlings of Jammy Git wines have been joined by Cornwall’s first Pét Nat, Fizzy Bum Bum, as well as Padstow Seamaiden Gin, bringing micro-winery and micro-distilling credentials to the mix, with a qvevri-aged orange wine in the pipeline this autumn. 

Faced with lockdown and its aftermath, the business stuck to its ethos of mining quality over a cheap sell, gently pushing the stories behind its wines and spirits, while shifting to ecommerce and partnering imaginatively with other local businesses. And all this while still managing to find the time to progress projects like the proposed planting of a small plot of vines and further roll out its ‘concession’ model, which has already seen partnerships with ARC and Relish. Great staff training and a sustainable approach are also a given. 

It’s an awesome combination from a diminutive business that seems to have swept away any sense of restrictions with a can-do attitude that also results in doing whatever it turns its hand to well. 



2 Luvians Bottle Shop, St Andrews (Best Scottish Indie)

‘Eclectic’ and ‘extensive’ are two words that leap to mind with this superb range of wines, spirits and craft beers, championing the very best of independent producers from around the world. However, it’s the commitment, passion, energy and innovation that the team behind this family-owned business put into all they do – whether tastings, food pairing, winemaker events and masterclasses, wine festivals, and the attention paid to both retail and wholesale customer needs – that thrusts this merchant into the limelight. And, by adapting fast to online retail and engagement during lockdown, with both traditional and off-piste wines being championed in imaginative ways, this Scottish star has emerged with a stronger and more loyal customer base than ever. A very worthy addition to our 50 Best Indies listing and an inspiration to others looking to be at the top of their game. 



3 Oxford Wine Company, Oxfordshire (Best Home Counties Indie)

From humble beginnings in owner Ted Sandbach’s garage to the multifaceted company it is today, comprising four shops, a wine café, piano and wine bar, wholesale operation and – boosted by lockdown – a significant and growing online retail arm, this group never seems to sit still. A remarkable global list of around 2,000 genuinely exciting and original wines and spirits is a testimony to the quality of the team, both in terms of sourcing and engaging with customers via a medley of tastings, events, winemaker-led masterclasses, dinners and wine fairs. Staff training and sustainability are taken very seriously too, reflected in the customer experience across the very varied outlets, helping to ensure this leading UK merchant’s high placing once again. 



 

4 Loki Wines, Birmingham (Best Midlands Indie)

Eschewing trend-chasing for genuinely exciting finds, while also seeking new ways to share a love for interest and quality with its customers, have been integral parts of this indie’s DNA since owner Phil Innes first opened shop in 2012. Now, with a hybrid branch up and running, plus a third poised to trade as the pandemic calms, the business has been hugely successful in spinning its tastings and retail business online since lockdown. It’s grown from zero to £400,000 in sales via its new ecommerce website and is pulling in close to 500 people per taste-at-home session. Such agility, backed with a real emphasis on staff and customer education, quality of service and a sustainable ethos, continues to see this boundary-pushing merchant grow, while never losing sight of the fundamentals of what makes a great local wine merchant. 



5 Hedonism Wines, London (Best London Indie)

From its fabulous Mayfair premises and Michelin-starred restaurant offshoot Hide, to the extensive ranges of differing format bottles, older-drinking vintages and impressive verticals of wines, this business effortlessly lives up to its name. This is a vinous experience as much as a store. All of this, though, is more than backed up by a highly knowledgeable and helpful team, fantastic globally inspired range, plus a roster of imaginative tastings and events, which have been migrated online during lockdown, continuing to deliver the magic of all that’s on offer from this upscale boutique merchant. A true gem and one that pulls in wine lovers from around the world. 



6 Reserve Wines, Manchester (Best Northern Indie)

Owner Kate Goodman’s Reserve Wines plays to the strengths of having a spread of five traditional and hybrid outlets, allowing the company to reach a wide spread of consumers in allied but differing ways. These include frequent tastings, while Enomatic machines, wines on tap and wines in can format are all in the mix, encouraging people to try interesting and unusual styles from the ever-rotating and satisfyingly broad range. The response to the pandemic has been impressive. With four sites closed, initiatives have included an outdoor market stall, partnering with local food businesses to offer delivery, pre-mixed cases and hosting online tasting events with producers.  

 


7 Define Food & Wine, Northwich

As coronavirus struck, owner Jon Campbell took the decision to remain true to the business’s roots, redoubling efforts to focus on a fantastic selection of wines at the £12-£20 sweet spot, while driving engagement through passion for personality, sustainability and authenticity, with the true value this triumvirate delivers. Always a strong supporter of community, donating some £150,000 to good causes over 20 years, a Covid-induced switch to more online activity was honed to focus on the Cheshire area, reinforcing the local emphasis of the business. This admirable approach has clearly paid dividends as customers continue to flock to this Northwich wine emporium. 



8 Jeroboams, London

With eight shops and a turnover of £26m, this agile merchant nonetheless manages the neat trick of remaining wholly embedded in the local communities of the ‘London villages’ it serves. Similarly, it’s 2,200-strong wine and 360 spirits listings feature many smaller, direct-sourced finds. And a depth of more mature bottles and a broking service, which sources to customer needs, completes the reach of this impressive portfolio. This fine drinks vendor also rose to lockdown challenges, with a new fully transactional website and online store, by ramping up its focus with Deliveroo and assisting restaurants with wine takeaways, while continuing to run themed promotions, along with other imaginative pandemic-beating moves. 



9 Vino Wines, Edinburgh

Growing the business from two to four stores plus a bar in 10 years, owner Andrew Lundy has rolled over the team’s collective passion for smaller and often off-piste producers of wines, beers and spirits to a fast-growing online operation, partnered with Drinkly, offering 300 products that can be delivered the next day. Always putting the customer first, this indie has further adapted post-lockdown, reopening two of its shops, double-manning on reduced hours, to ensure a mix of safety and best possible service as the restrictions of the pandemic continue to play out. A great business rooted in clear vision, but driven by a real underlying passion for serving the customer with the best of the drinks world. 



10 Cambridge Wine Merchants, Cambridge (Best East Anglian Indie)

From campaigning for a better deal for indies post-Brexit to the switch from vibrant all-channel merchant to community-minded home-delivery service during lockdown, this indie excels as an adaptable, multifaceted and customer-focused beacon for good wine retailing. Three shops, plus three franchises, a hybrid approach, a huge but much-loved range, often sourced direct, and a normally healthy wholesale operation all add up to a very successful business under the helm of MD and founder Hal Wilson. CWM continues to champion family producers and find innovative ways to pass on its enthusiasm to customers. 


11 Theatre of Wine, London

Since taking its popular tastings online, this ever-eclectic indie has proven that it has the vinous and business nous to survive whatever (else) 2020 has in store. Operating in and around London, consumers were quick to head online to discover what the Theatre had on offer, with individualistic wines from emerging regions, such as Greece, Portugal and Central and Eastern Europe available via direct delivery and Deliveroo.

12 Lea & Sandeman, London

Under the leadership of co-founder Charles Lea, this smart merchant continues to set itself apart thanks to its impressive wine portfolio, of which 90% is imported with the company bypassing wholesalers to offer a unique selection and great value for money. Last year, the business opened its first new store in 10 years, taking its total number of retail outlets to five, with all of those kept open throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

13 Butlers Wine Cellar, Brighton

Driving forces Cassie Gould and Henry Butler run the epitome of a community-focused wine business, backing up the hand-picked cornucopia of wines across the two shops and wholesale range by being deeply embedded in the Brighton, Hove and Sussex communities. The pair run and host enumerable events, including much work for charities, each year. Through lockdown and beyond this spirit continued, using the website and social media to educate and engage with podcasts and tastings, while raising more than £10,000 with the local Crew Club for the vulnerable community and NHS workers. A great merchant that works hard to impact positively on the society it serves.

14 Berry Bros & Rudd, London

A global pandemic has done little to shake the foundations of this iconic part of the SW1 retail landscape. With 300 years of heritage behind it, the St James’ merchant is serious about keeping things in the family, with those carrying both names still deeply involved in the running the of the day-to-day. In 2020, that includes offices in Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong, a wine school and an exclusive fine wine and dining venue in its St James’ heartland.

15 Yapp Brothers, Mere (Best South Western Indie)

When this Francophile merchant started up in 1969, its founding regions were the Rhône and Loire, which its former-dentist founder believed were underrated and great value. Although these remain key, the one-shop business has since included Alsace, Savoie, Jura and Languedoc as specialist regions, boasting an enviably high quality portfolio of world-famous domaines. At the beginning of this year, the company replatformed and redesigned its website, adding new listings from Germany, South Africa, Australia, the Rhône, Loire and Bordeaux.

16 Thirsty, Cambridge

Describing his company as “quite noisy” and “anti-establishment”, owner Sam Owens has clearly injected much of his own iconoclastic character into this engaging hybrid merchant, with craft beer and a “non-dogmatic” focus on natural wine to the fore. The range excites staff and customers alike, with a non-stuffy, innovation-embracing ethos running through the business, from wine on tap and bag in box, to large-scale pop-up events, offering beer and wine to hundreds of people in off-piste venues. A lively and highly likeable operation, putting conviviality and customers to the fore, even as the focus switched online and virtual during lockdown.

17 South Down Cellars, West Sussex

This West Sussex merchant has gone from strength to strength over the past year. Not only has it seen an 8.4% growth in turnover thanks in part to the introduction of more than 400 new wines to its already encyclopaedic range, it has also managed to complete a wider restructure of the business to offer a “360-degree” relationship with its customers. Somewhere along the way, it additionally established itself as one of the main proponents of English wine. At the height of lockdown, it could be found championing the #shoplocal hashtag, encouraging partnerships with small, local suppliers and wineries in the surrounding countryside, to the benefit of many in the South Downs area.

18 D Byrne & Co, Clitheroe

In the words of Harpers columnist Tim Atkin MW it’s hard to think of a wine that this family-run merchant doesn’t stock, with the breadth and depth of its range what makes this Victorian shop so special. Meandering through its labyrinth of underground cellars, customers will find all the great names and many new ones. In addition to more than 3,000 wines, spirits, liqueurs, bottled ales and a coffee selection further enhance the appeal.

19 Vineyards of Sherborne, Dorset

Our highest new entry this year, jumping in at 20 and for very good reason. The all-female team at this Dorset merchant are somewhat obsessive about “letting the wine do the talking”, while joining the dots from grape to glass with knowledge and passion. A focus on small growers and a growing “weird and wonderful wine campaign of love” is normally backed by a whirlwind of activity, ranging from themed cases, tastings, wine festivals, wines on tap and generally fashioning this hybrid outlet as a community hub. A small business delivering a big feelgood factor that has carried over to a host of feisty online initiatives and activities during the pandemic. And all of this backed by great communication and storytelling.

20 Vagabond, London

Beyond its urban winery project, which is now in its third vintage, this always vibrant hybrid operator continues to push the boundaries of what constitutes a modern indie. The latest development comes in the form of its new app, which will allow customers to dispense wine from its self-serve machines via their phones, while also keeping track of their drinks history and receiving recommendations. It might be a playful vagabond, but with a new app and draft beer system in the Enomatic style also in the pipeline, this business has proven itself to be a leader, too.

21 Bottle Apostle, London

This London-based indie has grown to comprise four stores across the capital (Victoria Park, Crouch End, Clapham and Primrose Hill), since it was founded in 2009. The business’ ethos to cater as much for the wine novice as it does for the seasoned drinker is at the heart of all four shops, alongside creating an environment that allows customers to explore wine without intimidation. At the same time, the team strives to offer a highly engaging and palate-stimulating mix in the portfolio, tempting customers back for more.

22 The Good Wine Shop, London

With a mantra of “good wine, real people, great stories”, owner Mark Wrigglesworth puts innovation, passion and knowledge to the fore, with specialisms such as grower Champagnes, plus strengths in regions including Italy and South Africa, spearheading a focus on artisanal-production wines and spirits. Having doubled from two to four hybrid shops in the past nine months, the team here rose to the coronavirus challenge by redoubling their efforts to evolve and sharpen their marketing and online strategies, with a new customer acquisition programme also being rolled out. Here is a business that is independent to the core.

23 Vindinista, London

This indie debuts on this list for packing a punch well above its size. Despite its small home in hip west London, this neighbourhood shop and bar has managed to build a loyal following with its people-pleasing pizzas, intriguing wines and attitude in spades. A champion of lesser-known regions, wines from Austria and the Czech Republic, plus a roster of organic, biodynamic and skin-contact wines all appear regularly on the list.

24 HarperWells, Norwich

This merchant continues to thrive under the helm of co-founder Dean Harper. During its 15 years in business, this indie has strived to carve a niche for itself by focusing on supporting the most talented winemakers rather than follow the ‘bricks-and-mortar’ estates, with its wine list featuring a new wave of winemaker – one that often doesn’t own a family estate, has worked vintages all over the globe, shares a cellar, shares fruit and shares a story.

25 Hennings Wine Merchants, West Sussex

This West Sussex-based operator entered its 60th year in fine form, with three shops and a thriving pre-pandemic wholesale business

driving a £5.7m turnover, firmly rooted in a very loyal following from retail customers, private clients and on-trade accounts alike. Having accelerated the digital and online presence, the team still keeps the focus firmly on the essentials of personal relationships and impeccable service, with many great wines sourced direct from smaller producers, reflecting the enduring ethos of this third-generation family-owned merchant.

26 Chesters Wine Merchants, Abergavenny (Best Welsh Indie)

Come for the wine, stay for the dog called Chester. This Welsh merchant and bar combines its love of vines and canines with aplomb, mixing a by-the-glass offer that changes weekly with a focus on small producers. All is overseen by pooch Chester, who not only hangs out in store, but on the logo too. Not everyone can have their own mascot to greet guests and keep an eye on proceedings, but we guess it helps.

27 Valhalla’s Goat, Glasgow

This Glaswegian wine merchant prides itself on its bright, cheerful and community-focused spirit, working hard to “de-pomposify wine and de-cliqueify beer”. Its wine list includes funky, minimal-intervention products appealing to both wine and beer drinkers. The business decided not to open its doors as soon as lockdown eased as it is a “browsing shop” and “there is no way you can browse, relax and explore if there are people waiting outside glowering at you”.

28 Adnams, Suffolk

Brewer, hotelier, restaurateur, publican, retailer, wholesaler and with a strong sustainability ethos that stretches to electric delivery vehicles, this Suffolk-based business is as multifaceted as it gets. On the wine retail side, which turns over some £12m annually, the growth of ecommerce during and after lockdown has only served to reinforce the strength of the range. High-end Burgundy and rarer finds from ‘emerging’ countries like Greece sit alongside innovations such as this business’ own branded range of wines, spirits and – of course – beers. All in all, a very tasty combination.

29 Tivoli Wines, Cheltenham

In lieu of its regular wine festivals, which have become a key part of the business since owners David and Helen Dodd took over in 2016, this multiple-format retailer has been enthusiastically working on its next projects. While it is keeping mum for now, the merchant has been preparing hard to keep up with a “tidal wave of orders” during lockdown, while also striving to reopen their popular first-floor Wine Library, where customers can enjoy 32 wines via a number of Enomatics.

30 Woodwinters, Scotland

This down-to-earth wine merchant boasts an impressive provenance-focused portfolio of wines, whiskies, craft beers and artisan spirits from around the globe. Since launch in 2005 with its first shop in Bridge of Allan near Sterling, it has grown to comprise shops in Edinburgh and Inverness, and a wholesale-focused office in London. In the past year, the business has been focused on the development and retail growth of its new Bridge of Allan store a few doors down from its current location, to which it hopes to relocate this autumn.

31 Hanford Wines, London

Whether you focus on this merchant’s specialities of Burgundy, Bordeaux, Italy, South Africa and, more latterly, California, or spread the net wider, this is an indie that offers an impeccable list of the world’s finest artisan wines to both retail and private clients alike. Having just the one London-based shop, this £3m-plus sized business is rooted in the passion and buying acumen of its two MWs and knowledgeable team. This is backed by the normal schedule of cellar-based customer tastings and its wine school sessions for private clients, all designed to keep the focus on the individuality and quality of the wines from the outstanding portfolio.

32 Amps Wine Merchants, Oundle

A strong pivot to online and telephone sales has allowed this quality merchant to dial up its delivery offering and meet demand throughout lockdown. Despite its traditional roots, the company has embraced Enomatic machines and other types of technology in recent years, proving that a thoroughly modern streak runs through this much-respected indie. Its customers are well served on both the retail and wholesale sides of the business.

33 Taurus Wines, Surrey

Situated in the Surrey Hills, this vinous oasis boasts a team of staff all holding a WSET certification, including four Diploma holders, with all having served a minimum of three years with the company. To cater for its “very traditional” customer base, it sells a lot of Bordeaux and Burgundy both in store and en primeur, alongside a strong range at the sub-£10 price point. Following a successful crowdfunding campaign, the business moved to new state-of-the-art premises in a renovated barn back in 2017, from where it hosts an in-store wine school.

34 Field & Fawcett Wine Merchants and Delicatessen, York

“We do it all and more,” says general manager Leo Walters, and on portfolio alone, with 2,000 diverse wines, plus 1,000 spirits and some 50-odd cheeses among the deli offerings, the passion at this North Yorkshire merchant shines throughout the list. To back this up, the company remains fiercely independent in spirit, fast adapting its normal roster of customer and community-focused activities to click and collect, backed by social media, during lockdown. This smooth transition allowed the company to build up new business, with free delivery, a focus on ‘sweet spot’ pricing and a personal touch turning customers’ heads away from the supermarket shelves.

35 Highbury Vintners, London

This standalone vintner has long struck a chord with its customer-base in leafy north London. Known for its enviable selection of wines from smaller, family-owned producers, a growing specialism in Spain, Portugal and beyond continues to set it apart from the pack, as well as recent partnerships with local businesses. These include tie-ins with restaurants, including BYOB incentives and discounts on selected evenings – a symbiotic and savvy business move, which has become popular with customers.

36 Martinez Wines, Bradford

Forty years in business, this indie is focused on picking wines of integrity and quality from small- to medium-sized growers, predominantly from Spain, for its two shops with connecting bars, and its wholesale arm from which it supplies throughout the North. To ensure it always offers customers the very best, both in terms of value and quality, if this merchant finds a wine that is better than what it has on the shelf of the same style and price, it is replaced.

37 The Vineking, Surrey

Having grown this smart business to five shops, including straight retail, hybrids, a wine bar, deli and a healthy online offer, MD Erik Laan continues to place much emphasis on innovation and engagement, with initiatives such as pop-up in-store restaurants the icing on the vinous cake. Taking lockdown in his stride, Laan flipped over to a fully online, delivery-based approach, with the focus remaining firmly on a global medley of smaller producers that have won this merchant a very loyal following.

38 Grape Minds, Oxford

It’s only been up and running for two years, but this Oxford merchant, founded by two young wine lovers, has quickly become a bastion of vinous discovery and excellence in an already well-serviced area. With a strong hand in France, with highlights across the Loire, Champagne and crémant-producing regions, it also has growing specialisms in Tuscany, Veneto and South Africa.

39 D Vine Cellars, London

Situated in the heart of Clapham, this independent wine shop sells and serves wines from small interesting producers with a focus on sustainable, organic and biodynamic winemaking. Specialising in premium handcrafted Antipodean wines, particularly from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, the business prides itself on its knowledgeable staff and ever-changing wallpaper of wine, which keep things interesting for customers and staff alike.

40 Tanners Wine Merchants, Shropshire

This company describes itself as a ‘Goldilocks’ merchant, offering something for everyone, and we agree. With its seven shops, wholesale side, private sales, impressively broad portfolio and commitments to staff training and sustainability, this £20m-turnover business remains close to its customers and the community it serves. List design, staff training, cellar tours, themed Saturday Sessions events and a redeveloped online shop window all add to this 180-year-old stalwart’s appeal.

41 Cheers Wine Merchants, Wales

It’s innovation like the gin refill station, believed to be one of the first of its kind in the UK, that has put this Swansea-based merchant on the map – and consumers seem to agree. The enthusiastic team here continues to delight customers in the Swansea area and beyond, with strengths in Spain and Portugal, while also folding beers and other spirits into its category-defying mix.

42 The Solent Cellar, Lymington

Approaching its 10th anniversary, this popular indie boasts an extensive portfolio ranging from everyday bottles to fine and rare wines, of which more than 40% is imported directly. Its strength is a diverse range from across Europe, with particular emphasis on France, Spain and Italy. Organic wines also make up a large proportion of its offering. Mainly retail, the business also does an element of on-trade, and hosts pop-up food-and-wine events in its courtyard garden and shop.

43 Good Spirits Co, Glasgow

A kaleidoscopic range of 2,000+ single malts, gins, rums and wines keeps customers guessing at this top-notch Glaswegian outfit. Craft beer has become part of the offer too as the merchant continues to evolve, with listings of wine and beer receiving a growth spurt during lockdown. It also boasts a small but focused range of UK ciders.

44 Secret Bottle Shop, Hereford

A quirky independent, this indie’s semi-hidden shop is often described by customers as an Aladdin’s cave. It offers an impressive 2,000-strong range of wines, Champagnes and spirits not typically found on the high street, including an extensive whisky and Port range. It also specialises in gifts and has built a loyal following, with its WSET-trained team always on hand to offer expert advice.

45 Connolly’s Wine Merchants, Birmingham

A switch to mixed cases and online deliveries with charcuterie folded into the mix has ensured this merchant’s customers in Birmingham have been well catered for throughout lockdown. At the helm of this ever-expanding ship is MD Chris Connolly, who oversaw the addition of a wine bar back in 2018. Today, its reach extends to regional wholesale supply too, with a reputation for supplying little-known vinous gems.

46 Ake & Humphris, Harrogate

This Yorkshire wine and beer specialist continues to entice customers with hundreds of bottles of Champagne, fine and value wines, and more than 150 beers, as well as a compelling variety of spirits. Italy, Spain, South America, South of France and Portugal feature heavily in its wine range, including over 100 (out of 350) that are “very good” for less than £10.

47 Philglass & Swiggot, London

With two MWs overseeing the range (Justin Knock and Lynne Coyle), this independent specialist in Battersea and Marylebone is known for its knockout wine offer that majors in the New World. Plans to convert the Marylebone site into a hybrid retail and bar venue are currently under way, as are plans to integrate the online and offline inventory for the first time. This is expected to exponentially increase the business’ online range.

48 NY Wines, Cambridge

Formerly Noel Young Wines, NY Wines features a huge range of hand-picked goodies from around the world, specialising in Australia, where the business co-owns vineyards, and New Zealand. In May last year, the 30-year-old indie added a new string to its bow as it moved premises to a bigger shop with a 40-cover wine bar.

49 Haynes Hanson & Clark, London, Gloucestershire and Hampshire

Since starting out in 1978, this family-owned merchant has built the business into a £4m concern annually. Today, its reach extends beyond the classic regions of France, while its stores have grown to create a triangle of excellence between London, Hampshire and the Cotswolds. The ethos is still the same, however: characterful wines of good value, all of which can be ordered face to face in the company’s shops, via phone or by email.

50 Duncan Murray Wines, Market Harborough

Established in 2001, a key strength of this Market Harborough family-run indie is its south European focus, including Sicily, Santorini, Germany and Tenerife, all adding an exciting twist to its portfolio, which also comprises great spirits and beers. And, last year, the business started delivering WSET Level 1 courses.



 

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