Essex Producers: The Colchester Wine Company

PUBLISHED: 18:11 22 September 2011 | UPDATED: 20:01 20 February 2013

Essex Producers: The Colchester Wine Company

Essex Producers: The Colchester Wine Company

The Colchester Wine Company: Essex produce, from farm gate to plate...

To understand the history behind this Colchester wine merchants, you have to first go right back to 1854. Thats when Lay and Wheeler initially established themselves as a household name in the area. More recently, in 2005, the Lay and Wheeler business split into two with the premises at Holton providing wines for investment and the shop in Colchester catering for the private individual. In 2008 the business based in Holton was sold to Majestic, although it continued to use the Lay and Wheeler name for trading purposes. It was at that time that the shop in Colchester changed its name and was reborn in March as The Colchester Wine Company.

General manager, Mark Cronshaw, joined the company straight from university in 2004. Initially working in the shop, he went on to become manager and is now in charge of all the day-to-day running of the store. His role essentially is as a marketeer, so he doesnt get to travel to the vineyards as much as hed like, but he has managed to visit wine producers in France, Australia, America, Italy and Spain.Although Im not visiting thevineyards in a buying role, wine is a passion of mine and I even tag on visits at the end of holidays too, explains Mark. This helps Mark and the team provide a well-informed service, including the popular Wine Discovery Club which offers the most convenient way to buy wine. Mark explains: Clients can pay quarterly when their case of wine arrives or monthly by Direct Debit. The cases are delivered in the spring, summer, autumn and winter and are the best wines available, including a mix of new discoveries or new vintages of old favourites.

Wine Discovery Club members stretch from far and wide, although the main focus of The Colchester Wine Company is a nationwide home delivery service, catering for customers up to the Highlands of Scotland, down as far as Devon and Cornwall, and with plenty in Central London too.

The shop itself was built in the 1960s as a purpose-built cellars based on an old Bordeaux chateaux. Theres a large showroom featuring 1,200 to 1,500 different wines available to try before you buy and theres also a large tasting cellar which can hold up to 90 people for a sit-down tasting or 120 for a walk around tasting.

The whole store has a nice ambiance and its our only outlet, so all the wine knowledge is available under one roof, explains Mark. There are regular tastings and events with the Seafood Extravaganza in November, which includes a trip to Mersea for some native oysters, being a real hit with customers and the companys flagship event that sells out every year.

So, in the current economic climate, I asked Mark if wine was still a good investment? Wine makes a very good investment. To begin with there is no Capital Gains Tax and theres some real money to be made if you are willing to let it appreciate for a while.

3 places to try a tipple
Lay & Wheeler
Holton Park
Hadleigh Road
Holton St Mary
0845 330 1855

Grape Passions Ltd
Unit 2
Grange Farm Grange Road
Nr Tiptree
01621 892381

Blossoms Wines & Ales
1 Belton Corner
Marine Parade Leigh on Sea

Get the taste
The Colchester Wine Company
Gosbecks Park
01206 713560

Latest from the Essex Life