Win fabulous bottles of Château Palmer

sichel winesCelebrate 130 years of fine wine with Maison Sichel and you could win one of the following:

1st prize: 1 Impériale of Château Palmer 1982

2nd prize: 1 Double Magnum of Château Palmer 1989

3rd prize: 1 Magnum of Château Palmer 1990

In 1883 the British line of the Sichel family set up shop as wine négociants on the quayside of Bordeaux.

Maison Sichel is still on the Quai de Bacalan in Bordeaux and is still a family company, managed by five Sichel brothers.

In Bordeaux it owns the much-respected Margaux property, Château Angludet and, since 2002, Château Argadens AOC Bordeaux Supérieur, its latest property.

In 1967 Sichel was the first négociant and producer in Bordeaux to build its own winery and Bel Air remains the only one of its kind in the region today.

In the 1990s, the Sichel family was in the vanguard of wine producers from outside the Languedoc who saw the potential for quality in the region. The visionary Peter A. Sichel bought Château Trillol in the Corbières in 1990 and the wines are now winning more major awards than ever.

Last but not least, of course, the Sichel family is the proud co-owner of one of the world’s finest estates, the Margaux 3rd Growth, Château Palmer.

HOW TO ENTER

Submit your answers to winemerchantmag@gmail.com before December 15th 2013.

1. Maison Sichel set up its offices in which part of Bordeaux in 1883?

a. The Quai des Chartrons.

b. The Place des Quinconces.

c. The Quai de Bacalan.

2. How did Maison Sichel break new ground in 1967?

a. It acquired a property in the Southern Hemisphere.

b. It established its own winery in the Corbières.

c. It built its own winery in the Bordeaux region.

 3. In which part of France is Château Trillol?

a. The Languedoc.

b. The Roussillon.

c. The South West.

 4. In which year did the Sichel family acquire its latest property?

a. 1990

b. 2000

c. 2002

5. Château Angludet is in which AOC?

a. Margaux

b. Moulis

c. Médoc

Tie-breaker

What were the first names of the Sichel who married Isabella Rothschild in 1802?

First name 1:

First name 2:

Competition open only to UK-based independent wine retailers.

Issue 20: should you open a second shop?

Opening a second shop is something that almost all independents think about at some stage. The first store is doing well; the teething problems are out of the way; you sense that you could buy more efficiently if you were able to sell from two sites. And, with any luck, make more money.

It doesn’t always work like that, of course. In the current issue of The Wine Merchant, we talk to one business adviser who suggests that independents who go down this route almost always fail, because they don’t have the entrepreneurial skills required. They’ve invested too much of themselves in the first shop, and this can’t be replicated on a second site. We also talk to Edinburgh merchant David Henderson, who recently called time on shop number twowine merchant issue 20 p1. He’s honest enough to admit the store had been losing money for some time.

But we also talk to two independents who have made the leap from one to two shops, and are doing well. At one point The Good Wine Shop in south west London even had three shops. Now, with branches in Chiswick and Kew, owner Mark Wrigglesworth allows his managers to do their own thing (more or less) and can take a strategic view of the business as a whole. He also gets weekends off.

In Hampshire, Wine Utopia has recently opened a second shop and owner Rachel Gibson has taken a broadly similar approach: let the managers manage. By the sounds of it, Rachel’s had a tough year getting the business to its current position. She’s pleased with the results. But she doesn’t want a third shop.

In issue 20 we also profile Hangingditch, the acclaimed Manchester independent. Owner Ben Stephenson gives a candid interview about the business and how it’s grown, and the things he’d like to do better. Does he want a second shop? Yes, as it turns out.

This is our last issue of 2013 before the festive break. It’s a bumper edition, packed with reviews, new store openings, vital updates from suppliers, David Williams on excellent form, a report on Codorniu’s recent indie trip to Spain, and some helpful advice on how to get inside the minds of your customers.

We’re also offering some superb prizes in a competition run in association with Maison Sichel, including an impériale of Chateau Palmer 1982, a double magnum of the 1989 and a magnum of the 1990. Full details on page five.

Let’s meet the winners

All can finally be revealed. The winning wines in the first-ever Wine Merchant Top 50 competition are listed here.

The-Wine-Merchant-Top-50-winners-brochure-final-1Why did we choose them? Well, we didn’t. Every wine was tasted and re-tasted by a panel of independent wine merchants – the people who sell them. As far as we know, this is the first and only wine competition to let retailers have complete control over the judging (though we’re grateful to Olly Smith and David Williams for chairing the proceedings and ensuring there was consistency and fairness throughout).

From the start, the rule was that only 50 wines could win. Inevitably that means that some excellent wines missed out. We’re the first to admit that on another day, with a different set of judges, we’d have some different names among the winners. Wine is subjective: if it wasn’t, every merchant in the country would list the same products.

But we’re delighted with the line-up of winners that emerged. As a snapshot of the diversity available in the independent trade – and as a guide to what would make a useful addition to any independent’s range – we reckon we’ve got all the bases covered. Congratulations to all our winners.

The latest issue of The Wine Merchant (October) is also available online.

Come and taste the winning wines

The winners of The Wine Merchant Top 50 will be revealed on September 15, with all details published in a supplement sent out with the magazine itself.

But we’re going one better than that. Independents can taste the winning 50 wines for themselves at events in Manchester and London.

David Williams and Graham Holter will be pouring the wines at The Honours Room, Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Talbot Road, Manchester M16 0PX on Monday, September 16 from 2pm till 5pm.

Then on Tuesday, September 17 they’ll be at The White Horse, 1-3 Parsons Green, London SW6 4UL, again from 2pm till 5pm.

These events are strictly trade only and aimed at independent wine merchants and their staff. If you don’t fall into that category, drop us a line if you’re thinking of attending and we’ll check your credentials with the FBI and Interpol.