This month we publish issue 100 of The Wine Merchant. What started out as a speculative 24-page pamphlet in April 2012 has become what many might call a proper trade publication.
Our first edition carried an editorial that tried to spell out how important independent wine merchants were becoming, even if it sometimes felt like the sector was being treated as an afterthought by some suppliers.
There were 660 indie wine shops at the time. There are nearly 950 now. And nobody needs reminding about the contribution that independents make to the UK wine market – except, perhaps, certain government ministers.
The Wine Merchant’s stated aims were “to provide independents with a source of information, conversation and inspiration; to reflect the good and bad things happening in our marketplace, and to signpost what may lie ahead”. We also promised “not to preach to our readers, or treat them as halfwits”.
It would be pleasing to think we’ve succeeded in those objectives, even if the hundred issues that have now rolled off the presses have contained some howlers along the way.
At least twice we’ve published lengthy interviews in which we’ve got the subject’s name wrong all the way through the piece. Some articles stopped mid-flow, indeed mid-sentence. We’ve spent the equivalent of months of our lives giving each page three thorough proofreads, only to create new typos in the process of correcting the ones we spotted. On a couple of occasions, the new issue has been flung in rage at the nearest wall and never spoken of again.
But enough of the self-congratulation and self-flagellation. At times like these, some thank-yous are called for.
Thank you to all those who have been, and in most cases remain, part of The Wine Merchant team, especially Claire, David, Nigel, Naomi, Sarah, Georgina, Hannah, Emma, Lippy and Kate.
Thanks to Tim, our printer, whose encouragement and expertise has guided us away from many a bear trap.
Thanks to the advertisers who’ve stuck with us from the very beginning; those who join the fun when budgets permit; and the suppliers, producers and agencies who have become our friends in more recent times.
Thanks to the merchants who have shared their opinions and experiences with us, in some cases involving information that’s sensitive for a variety of reasons. Earning, and maintaining, your trust is something we’ve never taken for granted.
Thanks to everyone who’s said nice things about the magazine. And even people who’ve said not-so-nice things. It all helps keep us on course – and true to that original mission statement.