Derby business news

Wine Merchant ‘Toasts’ To First Anniversary Success Despite Covid-19

An independent Derbyshire wine merchant is celebrating its first year in business after proving a hit with wine lovers during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The Honest Wine Company, in Borough Street, Castle Donington, turns a year old on Valentine’s Day, having opened its doors on Friday 14th February 2020.

After a successful few weeks of shop sales, and with customers ‘pouring’ into their popular Saturday wine tasting events, husband and wife duo, Karl and Debbie Shatford were faced with a worrying situation when, during the first lockdown, they made the choice to close. 

But instead of giving up their dream prematurely, the pair set about putting everything into their website’s e-commerce section so they could quickly take online orders and make deliveries.

And their hard work paid off. Online sales exceeded all expectations and when they were allowed to reopen the shop, they concentrated on combining retail sales with online sales, which was their intention from the start.  Namely, to offer the convenience of online combined with the ability to be able to visit an actual shop and talk ‘all things wine’.

Having closed once again at the beginning of January, long-time Castle Donington residents Karl and Debbie, said many friends and customers had urged them to reopen, and it seemed appropriate to do so before the business’s first anniversary on Valentine’s Day

“Wine was a hobby that became a business,” said Karl. “And we’re so glad that we had the bottle to do it!”

“The pandemic has prevented us from doing certain things during the past year, like wine tasting events and the more social aspects of our wine club. But we’ve done far better than we ever would have thought.”

“If the pandemic did one good thing, it forced us to think and act very quickly.”

The Honest Wine Company was so-named because the couple couldn’t come up with anything that better described their honest love of wine and eagerness to share great products, from mainly smaller, independent vineyards, at affordable prices – typically between £8 and £20 per bottle.

Debbie’s favourite wine is a smooth, red Neropasso from Italy, which she fell in love with when the couple bought a bottle for £30.00 in a restaurant on their 30th wedding anniversary. As testament to the good value offered by The Honest Wine Company, the same bottle is on sale for just £11.90.

As part of its birthday celebrations, the business will be holding a prize draw on Saturday 13th February, where anyone who has bought six or more bottles in one transaction stands the chance of winning a case of wine.

Debbie said: “More than anything, we want to thank each of our customers for supporting us during the past year. We absolutely love our business and we’re so grateful to have not only survived the pandemic, but to have actually thrived”