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Wine News - Archive


OWC named #3 in the UK's Top 50 Independent Wine Merchants!

12-9-20

We were utterly delighted this morning to be placed at number three in Harpers Wine & Spirit's 50 Best Indies 2020. The top ten was announced via live webinar yesterday morning. Number one went (for t...

OWC named #3 in the UK's Top 50 Independent Wine Merchants! 

We were utterly delighted this morning to be placed at number three in Harpers Wine & Spirit's 50 Best Indies 2020. The top ten was announced via live webinar yesterday morning. Number one went (for the second year in a row) to the brilliant Bin Two in Padstow, number two to Luvians Bottle Shop in St. Andrews, and number three to us!

It was amazing and heartening to see the excellent businesses that made up this year's Top 50. Our Oxford-based friends at Grape Minds made their first entry to the list at #38 (well done Michael and Graeme!). More friends over at Cambridge Wine Merchants were featured at #10, and the legendary Berry Bros. & Rudd came in at #14.

Huge thanks should go to each and every member of the OWC team, all of whom have worked SO hard over the past weeks, months and even years to make the business what it is today. We must also thank all of you, our customers, without whose support none of this would be possible.

Cheers to a fantastic result, and onwards and upwards for next year!


Amazing result from our 'Support South Africa' promotion

19-8-20

We are delighted to report that we saw a 79% increase in sales of South African wines during the 15% off promotion we ran in our Botley Road and Turl Street shops to support producers during the lockd...

Amazing result from our 'Support South Africa' promotion

We are delighted to report that we saw a 79% increase in sales of South African wines during the 15% off promotion we ran in our Botley Road and Turl Street shops to support producers during the lockdown. 

We're sure that those of you who decided to drink South African over the past few weeks discovered some delicious wines as well as helping us to support our excellent suppliers! 

All of our shops are open again!

29-6-20

We are delighted to announce that all three of our retail shops, plus our concession store at Millets Farm are open again and back to their usual hours (details here). We are operating as safely a...

All of our shops are open again! 

We are delighted to announce that all three of our retail shops, plus our concession store at Millets Farm are open again and back to their usual hours (details here). 

We are operating as safely as possible, with limits on the number of customers allowed in at a time, regular cleaning of frequently touched points and hand sanitiser available for staff and customers. 

Our delivery service will continue to operate as usual, with free local delivery for all orders over £40 and free nationwide delivery for all orders over £75. You can find full delivery information here


A thank you from Ted

11-5-20

First and foremost I would like to say a huge thank you to all of those who have ordered deliveries from us or continued to shop at our retail stores. We are an independent family-run business and we...

A thank you from Ted

First and foremost I would like to say a huge thank you to all of those who have ordered deliveries from us or continued to shop at our retail stores.

We are an independent family-run business and were uncertain whether we would be able to recover from the loss of almost all of our sales to pubs, clubs, hotels and restaurants, which makes up about 70% of our turnover.

Prior to this crisis, we were also operating a thriving retail arm - for which we have several times been named Wine Merchant of the Year - and a very small online ordering service. For those of you not aware we also have shops in the Botley Road and Turl Street in Oxford, in Standlake near Witney and a small concession shop at Millets Farm. Turl street is closed due to its small size and town centre location whilst the others are still operating - after a fashion!

However, the scale of orders we have been receiving via our website has been astonishing. I would like to personally thank each of you for your contribution to keeping us afloat and ensuring we will be able to return to business as usual as soon as circumstances permit. The amount of support has also encouraged me to put more resources towards our online service for the future. We had already been working on a new web presence and are aware that there have been some glitches with our current site - not all of our own making!

Alongside our online offering, we are very keen to maintain the personal element to our service. As such there is always someone friendly and knowledgeable on the phone (during office hours of course!) If you have any problems simply ring our Head Office and we will be more than happy to help you (01865 301144 - option 1).

This sudden switch from wholesale to mail order has brought with it some logistical challenges. With many of our usual trading routes temporarily closed, we have been unable to place orders as we usually would and thus are experiencing shortages of some product lines. We are now in a position to keep our website up to date with the stock available, although there still may be occasions were a substitution is required. However, with such a comprehensive range we always have an alternative option of excellent quality on hand if necessary. We are fortunate that our customers have been so understanding of some product shortages.

In order to keep up with demand, we have been adding more mixed cases to our already broad offering. We are also updating the products in existing cases to offer variety for those who may have already ordered. In other words, please keep looking and ordering!

We are operating on a skeleton staff and those of our team who have not been furloughed are working six days a week in an effort to get orders delivered within two working days - by all accounts much faster than many of our competitors!

I'm well aware of how many small businesses have been discovered and supported by the public during this crisis and we very much hope that you will continue to support them (and us!) as the gloom slowly lifts!

My sincere thanks and best wishes,

Ted Sandbach,

Owner & Managing Director of The Oxford Wine Company


Standlake and Botley Road shops to re-open

26-3-20

In light of the advice published yesterdat morning by the government, we have taken the decision to reopen our shops in Standlake and on Botley Road. The advice, which you can look at here, clearly...

STANDLAKE AND BOTLEY ROAD SHOPS TO RE-OPEN

In light of the advice published yesterday morning by the government, we have taken the decision to reopen our shops in Standlake and on Botley Road.

The advice, which you can look at here, clearly states 'Off-licences and licenced shops selling alcohol, including those within breweries' are exceptions to the instruction to all retail premises to close.

We have chosen these two shops as they are both extremely spacious, and we are confident that we can maintain the recommended two metres' social distancing guidelines.

Unfortunately, due to its small size and limited accessibility except by public transport, our Turl Street shop will remain closed for the time being.

We would ask that customers refrain from paying for their purchases with cash. We will be keeping the premises scrupulously clean, and have hand sanitiser available as well as sinks which you are very welcome to use to wash your hands if you wish. Of course, we also ask you to come to the stores only if you and your household are free from covid-19 symptoms and have not been advised to self-isolate.

We are of course still operating a thriving delivery business, and those who would rather order online or over the phone are still encouraged to do so. 


IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR USING OUR ONLINE SHOP

26-3-20

Please do not use Google Chrome to place an order through our online shop. We have been experiencing problems with this, particularly in conjunction with visa cards! ...

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR USING OUR ONLINE SHOP

Please do not use Google Chrome to place an order through our online shop. We have been experiencing problems with this, particularly in conjunction with visa cards!


Important update on deliveries

24-3-20

Wow! We have been inundated with orders for delivery over the past two days. It seems like a LOT of you want to support your local wine merchant - and for that we thank you! A few issues have come ...

IMPORTANT UPDATE ON DELIVERIES

Wow! We have been inundated with orders for delivery over the past two days. It seems like a LOT of you want to support your local wine merchant - and for that we thank you!

A few issues have come up due to this huge influx of orders and also (understandably) a lower staffing level due to government guidelines.

We would like to emphasise that we are still processing orders, and will continue to do so. Please continue to place them!

However, our delivery times may be a little longer than usual. We are doing our best to keep up with demand, and everybody will get their wine!

There has also been a little glitch on our - and a few other retailers' websites. Problems can arise when using Visa cards to pay in a Chrome browser. For ease of ordering, we encourage you to use either a different card or different browser.

We are so heartened by the amount of support that has come out of our local community during this very difficult and surreal time. Thank you.


Update on the Coronavirus situation

18-3-20

Dear Customers, Here are a few words on how the Coronavirus situation is affecting – and not affecting – business at The Oxford Wine Company. The first thing we would like to emphasise is that ...

Update on the Coronavirus situation 

Dear Customers,

Here are a few words on how the Coronavirus situation is affecting - and not affecting - business at The Oxford Wine Company.

The first thing we would like to emphasise is that all of our shops are still very much open - including our new store at Millets Farm Shop! The staff are keeping their hands nice and clean, and if you would like to use our sinks to wash yours you will be very welcome to. We also promise not to be offended if you would like to stand at a distance! We do ask you, though, to use cards to pay where possible, limiting the amount of cash our staff have to handle.

If you would prefer to stay at home, we understand and - as always - offer free delivery in the local area (this is quite a large definition of local, and a list of postcodes can be viewed here: https://www.oxfordwine.co.uk/delivery) for six bottles or more. You can order online via our website or we strongly encourage you to pick up the phone and give us a call! We still have a committed team of knowledgeable and friendly staff who will be delighted to give advice and organise orders over the phone.

As for tasting events, we are currently postponing all confirmed events up to the end of April. We will be in touch with new dates over the next few weeks as the situation becomes clearer.

In the meantime, we encourage all of you to, where possible, support local businesses. We have already seen many fantastic initiatives from independent shops, bars and restaurants in the local area, and we are sure there is more to come.

Stay safe, take care, and do get in touch if you have any questions.

With very best wishes,

The team at The Oxford Wine Company


Sandy's Piano and Wine Bar opens a new site in London

13-2-20

Since its opening in 2017, Sandy's Piano and Wine Bar has become a firm favourite of the partygoers of Oxford. Now, owner George Sandbach has expanded with a new site in Chelsea!...

Sandy's Piano and Wine Bar opens a new site in London

Since its opening in 2017, Sandy's Piano and Wine Bar has become a firm favourite of the partygoers of Oxford. Now, owner George Sandbach has expanded with a new site in Chelsea!

Sandy's London will be run along the same lines as the Oxford site with late nights, live music and excellent drinks (supplied by us at The Oxford Wine Company). 

It opens to the public tomorrow, the 14th February and is located on 158 Old Brompton Street, London SW5 0BA. 

We strongly encourage you to go and pay a visit!



The Oxford Wine School Announces WSET Dates for 2020!

19-12-19

Following on from the success of our wine education programme this year, we are delighted to announce an expanded programme for 2020. ...

The Oxford Wine School Announces WSET Dates for 2020! 

Following on from the success of our wine education programme this year, we are delighted to announce an expanded programme for 2020. 

We will be running WSET Levels One, Two and Three. For more details, take a look at the main Wine School page here



Our very first Cycle Bus Tour - with added Wine Tasting!

3-8-19

When Jon Little of Oxford Cycle Bus Tours contacted us to see if we would be interested in a collaboration - offering wine tastings aboard his fabulous 14-seater cycle bus - we jumped at the chance! W...

Our very first Cycle Bus Tour - with added Wine Tasting! 

When Jon Little of Oxford Cycle Bus Tours contacted us to see if we would be interested in a collaboration - offering wine tastings aboard his fabulous 14-seater cycle bus - we jumped at the chance! What fun!

Our first tour was a great success. We cycled across Oxford, making stops at the cellar of our Turl Street Shop, South Parks (we were lucky to have beautiful weather), Merton Street, and finally at The Oxford Wine Café. Naturally, at every stop there were wines to taste.

We're already looking forward to the next tour - if you're interested, take a look at Jon's website!





Coravins at The Oxford Wine Company

19-7-19

Following the huge success of the Coravin list at The Oxford Wine Café, we have invested in Coravin devices for all OWC retail shops, and every member of our sales team. ...

Coravins at The Oxford Wine Company 

Following the huge success of the Coravin list at The Oxford Wine Café, we have invested in Coravin devices for all OWC retail shops, and every member of our sales team. 

The Coravin is a device which allows you to extract wine from a bottle, without having to actually open it. Magic! A fine needle pierces the cork, and as wine comes out of the bottle, argon gas goes in. The argon protects the wine from oxidising (it's heavier than oxygen, so forms a protective layer over the wine)

This means that we will be able to offer a greater number and variety of wines to sample in our shops. Each store will have a selection of wines available to taste via Coravin, selected by the staff. We will also have a range of Coravin products available to buy instore and online - including the devices themselves, spare gas canisters, and aerators. 

We're very excited about this new development at OWC, and look forward to seeing many of you in store for a sample of something! 

The Oxford Wine Company has been shortlisted for three awards at the International Wine Challenge 20

22-6-19

Yet again, we have been shortlisted for several awards at the prestigious International Wine Challenge - aka the Oscars of the wine world! ...

The Oxford Wine Company has been shortlisted for three awards at the International Wine Challenge 2019! 

Yet again, we have been shortlisted for several awards at the prestigious International Wine Challenge - aka the Oscars of the wine world! 

Last year we were delighted to take home the award for Specialist Fortified Wine Merchant of the Year, so we have high hopes for 2019. 

Here are the shortlists:

Large Independent Merchant of the Year: The Oxford Wine Company, Berry Bros. and Rudd, Lea & Sandeman, Vagabond

Specialist Fortified Wine Merchant of the Year: The Oxford Wine Company, Waitrose, Vintage Wine and Port

Regional Merchant of the Year for Central England: The Oxford Wine Company, Loki Wines, John Hattersley Wines, Frazier's Wine Merchants


We are the Independent Retailer of the Year!

25-5-19

We were absolutely delighted this week to be named the Independent Retailer of the Year by one of the leading drinks trade publications - The Drinks Business. ...

We are the Independent Retailer of the Year!

We were absolutely delighted this week to be named the Independent Retailer of the Year by one of the leading drinks trade publications - The Drinks Business. 

The other nominees in our category were Jeroboams, Bon Coeur and House of Townend. All three are excellent retailers, so we were all the more pleased to win! 

This is the second big win for OWC this year - in February Drinks Retailing News named us the Regional Chain of the Year, seeing off competition from Cambridge Wine Merchants, Vagabond and Jeroboams. 

A huge well done to the whole team, and thank you so much to our customers - we couldn't have done it without you!


Great News from The Oxford Wine School

18-5-19

We are delighted to announce that the four OWC employees who took the WSET Award in Wines Level Two Award in Wines achieved passing grades! Congratulations to Paris Barghchi of Turl Street, Laura ...

Great News from The Oxford Wine School

We are delighted to announce that the four OWC employees who took the WSET Award in Wines Level Two Award in Wines achieved passing grades! 

Congratulations to Paris Barghchi of Turl Street, Laura Perez of The Oxford Wine Café, and Garth McAuley and Nik Green of Sandy's Piano and Wine Bar. 

We should also not forget to congratulate Wine School Head Tutor John Shuckburgh Dip.WSET for organising and teaching the course! 

The Oxford Wine School will be holding several more WSET courses this year. For full details see this page


Marcia Waters MW

26-3-19

It is with deepest sadness that we inform our customers and colleagues of the death of Marcia Waters MW. Marcia resigned from her post as Wine Consultant at The Oxford Wine Company a month ago due to ...

Marcia Waters MW

It is with deepest sadness that we inform our customers and colleagues of the death of Marcia Waters MW. Marcia resigned from her post as Wine Consultant at The Oxford Wine Company a month ago due to ill health, and passed away last week.

Marcia gained the title of Master of Wine - the industry's highest qualification - in 1990. Her impressive career saw her a buyer for Victoria wine and Tesco, as well as heading up the Institute of Master of Wines' Education and Examination Board. She had been about to become the first female Master of the Vintner's Company - an institution that has been established since the 14th century.

Marcia worked for The Oxford Wine Company for seven years as a wine consultant. During that time she contributed a huge amount of knowledge and enthusiasm to the business, and made many friends.

She is a great loss not just to us at The Oxford Wine Company, but to the wine industry as a whole. We will all miss her, and send our deepest condolences to her family at this most difficult of times.


Theo Sloot a Judge for The Wine Merchant's California Collection 2019

19-2-19

Theo, responsible for Tasting Events and Fine Wine at The Oxford Wine Company, went to London to blind taste and judge 180 Californian wines for trade magazine The Wine Merchant. ...

Theo Sloot a Judge for The Wine Merchant's California Collection 2019

Theo, responsible for Tasting Events and Fine Wine at The Oxford Wine Company, went to London to blind taste and judge 180 Californian wines for trade magazine The Wine Merchant. 

Theo has had a long-standing affection for Californian wines, and so was delighted to be asked to take part in this tasting. 180 wines were submitted by importers who wanted to showcase old favourites, new arrivals and fresh twists on familiar styles. All the wines had a retail price of £50.

To see the full California Collection supplement, click here


Emily Silva Interviewed on BBC Radio Oxford

11-2-19

OWC's Head of Marketing and Retail Emily Silva was interviewed by Howard Bentham during BBC Radio Oxford's Drive Time Show on Friday. ...

Emily Silva Interviewed on BBC Radio Oxford

OWC's Head of Marketing and Retail Emily Silva was interviewed by Howard Bentham during BBC Radio Oxford's Drive Time Show on Friday. 

She spoke with Howard about The Oxford Wine Company's recent win at the Drinks Retailing Awards; what it takes for an independent wine merchant to flourish in today's climate; what makes OWC special; and they even shared a glass of Joseph Perrier Champagne! 

To listen to the interview follow this link to the BBC website


The Oxford Wine Company named 'Regional Chain of the Year' at the Drinks Retailing Awards

8-2-19

We were delighted to be named Regional Chain of the Year at one of the drinks trade's most prestigious award ceremonies this week....

The Oxford Wine Company named 'Regional Chain of the Year' at the Drinks Retailing Awards

We were delighted to be named Regional Chain of the Year at one of the drinks trade's most prestigious award ceremonies this week.

Martin Green, Editor of Drinks Retailing News said this: "The Regional Chain of the Year award is always ferociously competitive, and we had truly exceptional finalists this year, but The Oxford Wine Company stood out as the best in the UK after excelling across a number of categories. It delivered a strong sales increase during the past year, while general appearance and retail standards were highly praised. The range of drinks it offers is exciting, merchandising is pristine and staff knowledge is very high, while customer engagement is also exemplary. All in all, the people of Oxford and further afield are blessed to have such a brilliant drinks merchant in their region."

OWC Managing Director said: "This is a real coup for us. We were nominated against three exceptionally strong businesses, all of whom we know and respect, and to win is a fantastic start to what we hope will be another great year for The Oxford Wine Company. The whole team should feel very proud."

The other nominees in our category were Vagabond Wines, Jeroboams, and Cambridge Wine Merchants.



Emily Silva profiled in The Wine Merchant's 'Rising Stars'

28-1-19

The trade magazine for the independent wine retailing sector profiled OWC's Emily in its new 'Rising Stars' feature, which highlights the contribution made by young people to the industry. ...

Emily Silva profiled in The Wine Merchant's 'Rising Stars'

The trade magazine for the independent wine retailing sector profiled OWC's Emily in its new 'Rising Stars' feature, which highlights the contribution made by young people to the industry. 

Emily arrived at the Oxford Wine Company with a degree from Cambridge in English and a "phenomenal wine knowledge", according to owner Ted Sandbach. She had started "a very ill-advised law conversion course", in her own words, but fancied a career in wine.

"I said to her, everyone who joins the wine trade has to do the hard yards - working in retail for a couple of years so you really understand the wine business and the people," says Sandbach. "She did that for two years and was very good at it."Emily was later fast-tracked into a marketing and PR role. 

"Just as with my role as a shop manager, I came into my marketing role with pretty much no experience, and both have been a steep learning curve - although that's what I enjoy," she says. "I have just taken on a new responsibility as a co-ordinator of the retail side of the business.

For the full article, click here