At the time of writing we are in the first weeks of trading at our new Turl Street shop having completed the total refurbishment of Duckers which finally closed its doors at the beginning of the year. My grandfather was at Jesus college when Duckers opened in 1898 and I remember my half brother, who was an Oriel, proudly boasting that he had saved up for a pair of shoes which would last a life time.
But one door closes and another opportunity arises! The site is small and tight but we now firmly believe that we need to be in the city centre in order to enhance the company status within the city and make the company more accessible to customers. Our Botley road shop is a success but not easy to get to unless you happen to live on the SW side of Oxford. Our Head Office at Standlake also has a shop but is generally the hub for our wholesale business.
The new Turl Street shop is managed by Mark Warde-Aldam who has spent 26 years at Majestic - latterly running the Summertown Branch. He brings with him massive experience and a load of contacts. He is assisted by Matthew Whitaker , who has been the sommelier at the Michelin starred Nut Tree at Murcot.
Please do come in and have a look!
We have always been keen to tell customers that we use quality glasses to serve our wine at the Oxford Wine Café in Jericho. We believe it enhances the drinking experience and whilst it might be expensive it is essential that we do not go down the "small cheap glass filled to the rim" route. I always cringe when a member of staff wipes the glasses too vigorously as I know the outcome and no doubt a few customers have quite a collection of our glasses by now . One of the hazards of being in this business!
Nevertheless we aim to maintain standards and Riedel is the chosen glass provider. However they have now brought a lawsuit against Marks and Spencer for what it calls an infringement of trademark. They argue that the "Sommeliers" range are too close to their own design. A hearing is scheduled shortly but whatever the outcome please be prepared to invest in decent glassware. It really does enhance the drinking experience!
It is very unusual for a Frenchman to even acknowledge that wine is drinkable outside France. However Xavier Bizot, the great nephew of Lily Bollinger,has announced that the best wine he has ever drunk was a Penfolds Bin A 1962 which is from Australia. This is a bold statement which will do no harm to Australia's reputation, which at the lower level has taken a battering in the last 10 years. Xavier now works in Australia at Tapanappa in the Adelaide Hills but his comments are interesting. "Australia is a lucky country ...because it is warm and dry. The best vintages in Bordeaux and Burgundy are warm and dry but the problem s that it cannot water, whereas Australia can. So that's our luck.".
He also firmly believes that Australia should not try to copy European wines but have the confidence to trust in their own style.