When I founded RED&WHITE in 2005, it was with the idea of becoming the finest small wine merchant in the country. A company that focused completely on wine, sourcing the very best parcels of wine from producers that made a wines that were not just exceptional in terms of quality, but also in some way told a story, had a real sense of 'terroir', and showed some of the character of the person that made them. I wanted us to be not salesmen, but the narrators of those stories, enthusing with the same passion as those that made the wines about the character and style that each bottle had to offer.
We started with an office in the spare bedroom, purchased a desk (that I still sit at today) and plugged in the telephone. It still remains the proudest moment of my business life, when that phone rang for the first time and Tom Kendrick from the Fortescue Arms in East Allington, South Devon (a customer still) called and asked if we would supply them with their wine list. Over the last 6 years, we have had some phenomenal success, growing to become one of the largest suppliers in the region, and winning fantastic awards such as The International Wine Challenge Regional Merchant of the Year, and runner up in the O2 Small Business of the Year Awards. More importantly we have made friends along the way, build relationships with wine enthusiasts nationwide, who have embraced what we are doing as a merchant and enjoyed what we are trying to do.
In 2010 we opened a retail shop in Kingsbridge and really began to engage with the retail customer. The shop has become a focal point for the business where we sell great wines to customers, who increasingly seem to 'get it'; we are nothing like a supermarket, indeed we could not be more opposite. Our wine tastings have always been popular and they have grown and grown into wine festivals, where customers enjoy not only our wines, but masterclasses, food demonstrations and live music.
We will never be accused of not being adventurous. For two years we were the exclusive supplier to the business class airline Silverjet, building relationships not only at altitude but also in New York and Dubai. In 2012 we expand our business into the Caribbean, our wine festival WINESTOCK launches in Antigua and with it we are excited about our first franchise agreement.
I am extremely proud of where we are as a business now. We work with extraordinary producers and I believe we really understand their wines. We are enthusiastic, and honest, and we sell these wines to some of the countries finest hotels and restaurants and an increasing number of supportive private customers. As we grow, in a funny sort of way we also shrink; we consistently assess what we are selling and who we are selling it to; now more than ever I am incredibly proud of our relationships with both suppliers and customers.
We have just opened a new office in Clifton, Bristol (Summer 2012) and at the same time opened a new bonded warehouse in the same city. This gives RED&WHITE a better opportunity than ever to build on its strengths and to focus on quality of service. We have also relaunched this website so that buying our wines online has become easier and more enjoyable than ever. As always the process of searching for new wines continues and our excitement for the products we sell increases with each new discovery.
I make one promise to everyone who asks about RED&WHITE, and that is that we will never be mediocre. We will consistently search out the best, to ensure that we satisfy the simple desire we have as a company, that our customers drink better wine than everyone else!
Every day is a step forward for RED&WHITE, thank you for becoming involved.