WHEN the hospitality industry was shut down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, de Burgh Wine Merchants was faced with losing 95% of its business overnight. Such a seismic shock provided the catalyst to accelerate the company’s plans to expand its web shop and home delivery service.
“People have been drinking our wines for years without knowing it, as we supply many of the best hotels and restaurants across Scotland,” explained co-owner Tarquin de Burgh. “We have always had a web shop, however our restaurant clients were our main focus. Customer’s buying habits changed overnight and we saw wine lovers looking to support independent businesses that could deliver. The feedback from our new customers has been fantastic, with many repeat customers saying how delighted they are with the quality and value of our range.”
The majority of its wines are sourced from small European growers. “Most are pretty humble farmers to be honest,” said co-owner Will Nicolson. “It’s just always been seen as a bit more romantic to be growing grapes in the South of France rather than growing potatoes in Ayrshire, but the same principals apply. Guys like Jon at Domaine Sainte Croix or Alain Bessette at Chateau La Verriere – who make Chateau Rival Bellevue for us – know the land, the climate, the vines, and understand the relationship between their vineyards and the finished bottle of wine. Knowing them is just as important as knowing the wine.”
Based on a working farm just outside Edinburgh – more reminiscent of a Burgundian cellar than a wine warehouse – getting wine to customers has never been an issue for de Burgh Wine Merchants. It has restaurant customers in some of Scotland’s most remote locations and uses a combination of its own vans and couriers to deliver. “It’s a bit bonkers, the courier collects a box of wine from me at 4pm and someone in London or Ardnamurchan is drinking a bottle from that case with their lunch the next day,” says de Burgh. Although not all locations in the UK are next day delivery, he’s always surprised at how many do get delivered on the next day service.
Sending wine to self-catering holiday homes and lodges has been growing rapidly over the past few weeks as the lockdown restrictions ease and people get out and about again. “Last week a great friend turned up at the farm to collect three cases,” de Burgh said. “He was on route to the west coast to spend a week in a house with friends. We just couldn’t fit the wine in the car. With the tough decision to be made – of wine or dog – we ended up sending the wine via courier along with a suitcase that was jammed between the kids in the back. It all arrived safely the next day.”
The company’s website offers a large and diverse mix of wines to choose from, along with a fantastic selection of pre-mixed cases at a range of budgets. The monthly case is a brilliant idea that features a seasonal mix of wines that is put together to reflect the time of year and seasonal fair. There is no minimum purchase, delivery is free for orders over £100 (£5.99 for orders under £100) and is either delivered by its own fleet of vans or via a UK wide courier service, which is next day in many areas.
If you are looking for well-made, honest wines that really do deliver then they are well hunting down online at www.de-burgh.com/shop