JANE: So, if you were on a desert island and a case of wine got washed up. What would you hope that that wine was?
TARQUIN: That’s really hard, really hard. There’s one white wine which sticks in my memory. I drank it with a great friend of mine who’s a winemaker, whenever we meet we tend to pull the cork on something pretty decent. Last time he stayed with me he took a bottle of 1985 Hermitage Blanc from Chave out of the cellar and asked with a wry smile if it would be ok to pull the cork on it. It was amazingly rich and deep with apricot, white fruits and a nutty note, with white pepper spice aromas and had extraordinary texture. I’d love a case of that please, although it is £385 a bottle so hope that’s ok?
JANE: At £385 a bottle. I think there will be only be one washed up on this island Tarquin, it’s hard times you know!
TARQUIN: Do I get a glass washed up too? I have to have a good glass to drink it out of, because you can’t drink it out of a shell.
JANE: We will see what we can do, although I like the shell idea!
A lot of people have newfound creative energy they’ve not had before, had covid not come around. Like you said at the very beginning. What have you discovered that has made a positive impact on your business that you will use as a stepping stone or a spring board, to do more of in the future?
TARQUIN: I think we became marketers overnight basically. Innovators of mixed cases, small special speciality packs. We have been very flexible. What we’ve done is we’ve not reinvented the wheel; we’ve just done it rather well and rather stylishly.
JANE: You have a club don’t you. You have monthly memberships.
TARQUIN: The wine club has been really successful. The lovely thing about it is that we haven’t turned around to people and said this is what you should have, we turn to them and said you can buy a case of wine every month and that can be anything you want, we will bespoke it just for you.
I’ve got customers that spend sixty pounds a month and get six bottles or customers that spend a lot more and get twelve. We phone up our clients and say what did you enjoy from the case last month and what would you like this month, alongside suggesting some of our new finds!
It’s properly personal, the same team member phones up the same client each month. It’s the only way we can really get to know what that customer wants and likes to drink.
JAMES: When I was eighteen, I was given a membership for the Wine Society and I didn’t have a clue where to start and what to look for. The benefit from your membership is you have that personal connection with the customers. It means they trust you more. With you, having a small team definitely reaps benefits for the customer as well.
TARQUIN: Yeah, it definitely does. When you speak to the team on the phone, you’re speaking to the team that buy the wine. We really do love what we buy and I like to think that what we send our customers is exactly what they will love to drink.
JANE: What are the costs for the membership, are there various levels for it?
TARQUIN: The beauty is it’s up to you to choose. It’s not set, we can have a suggestion of what it can be but at the end of the day it can be whatever you want. That is the beauty, it’s not set in stone. That’s what makes it different.