"Retail Buying Team of the Year; Laithwaites Wine". It’s nice to have it confirmed at last … by Drinks Business; (the Wine Magazine of every Year for me).
Our success over the years was often put down to a) our customer service – which indeed has won a stack of awards – and b) my silver tongue, or some sort of voodoo magic we perform with that thing called 'Mail Order'.
Well, no, keen wine customers are one of the smartest customer groups of all. You don't get anywhere without giving them delightful wines that nobody else can give them. And how do you do that? You work at your research all the hours God sends and you travel till you begin to think airports are where you live.
I don't drive my buyers to do this. They just drive themselves on. And have for many years.
My buyers truly do get themselves to places where no-one has ever been before. And do it all the time. I'm very grateful to them, I love 'em all, and I promise we will always have the most travelled and the smartest buyers in wine.
So … well done Drinks Business for letting our secret out.
And spare a thought for Dan and Steve based out in Oz. They might not like it, being true Aussies, but they are on the winning British team too. And also for poor Thomas over in the US, who laboured long towards today's award. He was just recently told to 'Go west, young man', and join Michael buying for our American chums. You're both on the team, really, chaps. And, well, California isn't too bad a place to be is it?
Talking of travels… This week, with my old school mates, I have been re-tracing a geography field trip over Clee Hill and the Long Mynd from 50 years ago. I've emailed some pictures to a Mr Brian Roberts, retired teacher.
Thank you, Mr Roberts, Sir, for somehow knocking into a dense 16-year old the delights of wandering around in a geographical sort of way. OK so I only got a 3rd. But I've never stopped using what geography I did learn. Thanks. Keep taking the wine.
PS I recommend Bishops Castle as a gem of a little town in unspoilt country. With two breweries and a nice hotel.