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Wine News - Archive


Drinks Retailing Awards 2022 - FINALIST

22-10-21

We have been shortlisted for two awards in this prestigious competitions: Spirits Retailer of the Year and Regional Chain of the Year...

Drinks Retailing Awards 2022 Finalist

We have been shortlisted for two awards in this prestigious competition: Spirits Retailer of the Year and Regional Chain of the Year.

The results will be released in February, but we are thrilled to be a finalist in these two categories.

The quality and breadth of our unique range of spirits, and indeed our whole portfolio, are things we are extremely proud of here at the Oxford Wine Company. Offering you, our customers, interesting and delicious drinks of all sorts is what we love, and to be nominated in competitions like this just shows us we're getting it right.

Wish us luck for February!


WSET Courses at OWC

22-10-21

The Oxford Wine Company is now offering an enhanced range of WSET Courses...

The Oxford Wine Company is now offering an enhanced range of WSET Courses

As an approved programme provider for the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, we are now able to teach the following qualifications:

Level 1 Award in Sake

Level 1 Award in Spirits

Level 1 Award in Wines

Level 2 Award in Spirits

Level 2 Award in Wines

Level 3 Award in Wines

So if you've ever wanted to learn more about wine, sake or the wonderful world of spirits, do get in contact with us or check out our wine school page for more information.

We can't wait to welcome you to a classroom soon!


Shortlisted for two Decanter Retailer Awards!

17-9-21

We are so excited to announce that we have been shortlisted for two categories in this year's Decanter Retailer Awards. Our sights are set on the Local Multi Store Award, and the Italy Specialist. ...

Shortlisted for two Decanter Retailer Awards!

We are so excited to announce that we have been shortlisted for two categories in this year's Decanter Retailer Awards.

Our sights are set on the Local Multi Store and Italy Specialist awards.

Results will be released in October - until then, we have our fingers crossed! 

Sixth in the Country!

10-9-21

We are absolutely delighted to come in at number six in this year's Harpers Wine & Spirits Top 50 Indies list. Despite the challenges of the past 18 months, it's been a pleasure to keep operating ...

Top Ten in the Country!

 We are absolutely delighted to come in at number six in this year's Harpers Wine & Spirits Top 50 Indies list. There are over 900 wine merchants in the UK, and this is the fifth year running that we have been named in the top ten. 

Despite the challenges of the past 18 months, it's been a pleasure to keep operating and providing our customers (you!) with stunning wines and exciting spirits. We took the leap and opened our third Oxford shop, found our feet with virtual tastings and continued to offer the same excellent service you know us for. We added new, standout wines to our list and grew our team by hiring four new people.

To be recognised for these efforts, and stand among the other top 10 independent merchants, is such a privilege.

With our events calendar opening up, new wines coming in and this fantastic OWC team, we're raising a glass to the next year! Cheers!


OWC Among Top 50 Indies 2021

22-7-21

We're delighted to have been named as one of Harpers Wine & Spirits top 50 independent merchants for 2021....

The Oxford Wine Company among top 50 indies for another year!

We're delighted to have been named as one of Harpers Wine & Spirits top 50 independent merchants for 2021.

The final rankings will be released at the start of September, but we are thrilled to have been placed in this prestigious list.

We have been in the top ten for the past five years, and three times have been placed in the top five, reaching our highest point last year, when we came second. So, wish us luck!

Success at The Oxford Wine Café

15-7-21

Josh Webber, Manager at The Oxford Wine Café, has passed the Certified Sommelier exam. This rigorous examination requires extensive theoretical knowledge, accurate tasting skills and flawless ser...

Success at The Oxford Wine Café!

Josh Webber, Manager at The Oxford Wine Café, has passed the Certified Sommelier exam. 

This rigorous examination requires extensive theoretical knowledge, accurate tasting skills and flawless service. It takes place over a challenging three days, during which the Introductory Sommelier level must first be passed before successful candidates move on to attempt the Certified Sommelier examination. 

This means that The Oxford Wine Café now has two Certified Sommeliers on its team, as fellow manager Matthew Whitaker also passed the exam in 2016. 

We hope you will all join us in raising a glass to Josh and this fantastic achievement! 

Sandy's at The Oxford Botanical Gardens

8-5-21

If you've been missing nights out at Sandy's Piano and Wine Bar, you'll be pleased to hear that you can find them on Thursday evenings at the Oxford Botanical Gardens! ...

Sandy's at The Oxford Botanical Gardens

If you've been missing nights out at Sandy's Piano and Wine Bar, you'll be pleased to hear that you can find them on Thursday evenings at the Oxford Botanical Gardens! 

Sandy's Botanical Bar will be open from 5:30pm, with live music from 6:00. Book your spot here

We are open as usual!

11-11-20

Again, being officially recognised as essential, our shops are remaining open throughout the lockdown. All are operating to their usual opening hours. ...

We are open as usual!

Again, being officially recognised as essential, our shops are remaining open throughout the lockdown. All are operating to their usual opening hours which you can see here

We will continue to run our hugely popular delivery service for those unable to visit in person. 

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


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!


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 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 emphasis...

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!