Winetraders (UK): a top outfit

I can’t express enough the alignment in philosophy that I have with these guys. I came across them for the first time today on the net, through Linked-In. Feels good that they’re kindred spirits.


 “Winetraders is an importer and distributor specialising in high-quality Italian estate wines.  Established in 1997 and based in Oxfordshire we sell both in the UK and in other countries including Canada, Scandinavia, and Australia.

In our opinion Italy is currently the most interesting wine producer in the world.  Her unique combination of grape varieties and terroir linked to the native creativity of the Italian soul provides today’s wine drinker with a fascinating alternative to the inundation of technically correct but deathly dull branded wines from the irrigated vineyards of the New World.

It would be impossible for the country that brought you Ferrari and Ducati, Alessi and Gucci not to have, somewhere within its borders, a winemaker who shared a similar passion for excellence.  Of course there are but the Italians, no fools, prefer to drink these wines themselves.

For decades the appalling examples of Soave and Chianti that have besmirched the wine list of every pizzeria from Shanghai to San Francisco have spoken much more eloquently about the economic migrants who chose to leave the world’s most beautiful country than about those who stayed behind.

The estates which we have chosen are based on hundreds of visits to every corner of this fascinating peninsula over the course of the past two decades.  Each producer creates wines which reflect his or her unique terroir within the context of the 2,500 years of winemaking heritage.

The profusion of native grape varieties and denominations that strikes terror into the heart of every wine student and sends every supermarket shopper scuttling to the Australian section must not be seen as hurdle which Italy must overcome.  It is an opportunity that must be seized.  We live in a world where information is prized over understanding; people crave facts rather than knowledge.

The UK consumer is in desperate need of education and not only about wine but also about food.  The meteoric rise in wine consumption in the past ten years has not been built on the back of a more savvy wine drinker as the supermarkets would lead us to believe.

Yesterday’s Liebfraumilch devotee is today’s Chardonnay girl and the shops are as bereft of real choice as they ever were; brands drive footfall and the supermarkets list the category leaders.  We want to change that.”

I’m with these guys 100%. Next time I am in the UK for any reasonable amount of time you can pretty much guarantee I will be using their home delivery service. Their passion speaks volumes about their customer care and ‘quality first’ ethos. That matters more than the lowest price possible.

Luckily I have managed to carve a niche in Shanghai where we can offer these kinds of quality driven products and top levels of service; PLUS we are cheaper than the supermarkets and retailers at nearly every level of the market, except the bucket wines where we can’t and don’t wish to compete.

“About Us

Winetraders was founded in 1997 by Michael Palij MW.  A Canadian, Michael emigrated to the UK in 1989 after reading English and Philosophy in his home city of Toronto.  He qualified as a Master of Wine in 1995 at the age of just 29.  A career in retail was brought short when he was recruited as the wine buyer for Windrush Wines, in 1994, and sent on his first buying trip to Italy.  He promptly fell in love with both the country and its wines and has subsequently visited Italy on more than 100 occasions.  Michael is widely regarded as one of the foremost authorities on Italian wine and is published internationally through Dorling Kindersley.  He also writes the Italian sections of both the Wine and Spirit Education Trust ( core textbooks.  In his opinion the value of education in promoting wine cannot be over-estimated and he continues to run a wine school in Oxford ( as well as lecturing on Italy around the world.  Michael lives in Oxford.

Michael Palij MW

Why do I love wine? 

Because it’s been part of our culture for 3,000 years.  Because, like art, its enjoyment is fundamentally subjective, to make great wine you need both science and creativity in equal measure.  Wine brings families and friends together not just to eat but to down tools for a while and share the day’s events.  It’s the glue that our society increasingly needs.  My favourite wine?  Barolo at a push but, fortunately, I will never need to decide.  Wine’s beauty lies in its diversity; there’s one out there to suit every budget and palate.

Michael Palij MW

this is their site.

The Wine Man

January 2012

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