Help the indies, win a copy of Wine Grapes


25 August 2014 - We've hit the deadline, and overall have 117 entries to sift through – not an easy job. Thank you for all your nominations and contributions which go to prove how much these independent wine merchants mean to us. There are a couple more weeks' worth of reviews to publish, and then we'll let you know who the talented (and dedicated) winners are. Meantime, take a look a our guide to some pretty wonderful wine merchants from all over the world.

13 August 2014 - Just three days left to send us your account of your favourite independent wine retailer(s). Final deadline is midnight this Friday, UK time.  We are especially keen to hear about retailers in countries other than the UK and US.

29 July 2014 – Very many thanks to everyone who has contacted us so far to nominate their favourite wine merchant(s). Do please read the rules below. This is a writing competition, so we're looking for your words about why you like a retailer, not just a name. And we'd love you to include an image too – a picture of the store, a logo, your favourite member of the staff. Our first published recommendation is here.

It's probably safe to say that all of those responsible for and most of those who visit it are keen on independent wine retailers.

Life is not easy for them. They may be powered by massive enthusiasm for our favourite fermented fruit juice but they are arraigned against the combined forces of some giant conglomerates and retail behemoths plus, in many countries, logistical and practical nightmares that vary from the curse of the three-tier distribution system to punitive taxes and duties.

That's why we would like you to provide some encouragement for them. We'reWine_Grapes_US_open running a competition for visitors to We'd like you to submit publishable accounts of experiences with independent wine retailers (not just a name or two!). We'll publish those we think others will particularly enjoy reading (and are not libellous). To the author of the account we think is the best read we will give a prize, a copy of Wine Grapes (UK edition above, US edition right – the contents are identical) signed by all three of us co-authors and individually dedicated to the person of your choice. We will also give a well-publicised award to the retailer we think comes out best from the accounts we receive.

It's very simple really. It doesn't matter where you live, nor where the retailer is based. Online retailers are as eligible as bricks-and-mortar businesses. Please, get going, once you have read the details below. Just email your account, as many of them as you like, to, as soon as possible, and in any case by 15 August. We're looking forward to publishing the best of them.


You write about your experience(s) with a specific named retailer or retailers.

You may submit multiple accounts.

You must be a genuine customer of the retailer you describe and may not write about anyone related to you, nor about any company with which you have a financial relationship.

All accounts should be accompanied by at least one image relevant to each retailer described, as well as by their contact details.

Entries should be sent to before midnight UK time on 15 August.

We reserve the right to choose which accounts we publish and to edit them as we see fit.

Between 15 and 31 August we will choose at least one winning account and will give the writer of it a signed and dedicated copy of Wine Grapes (RRP £120/$200).

Between 15 and 31 August we will make an award to the retailer who seems to have the most admirable qualities according to the accounts we receive. (There may in the end be no direct relationship between the winning writer and the winning retailer.) The award-winning retailer will be offered two free tickets to our Barolo Night, a very special tasting of Barolo 2010s in London on Sunday 23 November (last year's event is pictured below), and a ballast-providing lunch for two beforehand at The Quality Chop House.

Our decisions are final.