This month we sat down with a refreshing glass of Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay and chatted to Ben – a former Farmyard employee and now the ‘wine guy’ at CH Wines.
Keep reading for a great summer drink suggestion and an awesome tip on getting value for money for your wine.
Tell us a little about the ethos behind CH Wine Merchants?
Great wines, great service, great value. It’s a pretty simple ethos really, but amazingly enough there was a gap in the market for it!
Where are you based and how long have you been operating?
Rob set the business up 6 years ago, and I joined him nearly 3 years ago, and it is going from strength to strength. We are based at the old RAF Coltishall site in Norfolk and we love it there. It is a big community of businesses and perfect for us.
When did you start supplying Farmyard Restaurant with wine?
Since day dot. Rob was one of Andrews first suppliers, so we have been with them from the beginning. I worked Farmyard Front of House when it first opened, so I have been involved from day 1 as well.
What makes the partnership successful/meaningful?
We have a great relationship. Rob used to deliver the wine on a Thursday, and we would have Thursday Wine Club, which mainly consisted of us drinking/sampling wines at 10.30am in the morning.
After three years working at Farmyard restaurant in Norwich, I moved to CH Wines. Andrew and Hannah fully supported me with this, for which I am eternally grateful. We work WITH each other. We don’t just like to sell and deliver wine, we get involved with training, vineyard visits, tastings, and it helps that we know Andrew, Hannah, and their teams so well. They are lovely people!
Why is buying local so important?
When you buy local, it stays local. It is important as independents to keep working together and using each other because socially, economically, and environmentally it is a stronger business model. Sometimes local isn’t always the cheapest, but I do think you get much better value for money. You know each other, the service is better, there is more control, and we can push the big boys out a little bit which helps absolutely everything locally allowing businesses like us to thrive
What is your favourite day out/place in Norfolk?
I love walking into the city with my family on a Saturday, having lunch on the market, and maybe a beer or two at Sir Toby’s Beers, or The Garnet. Out of the city, I love the Norfolk coastline and the Broads – both magical!
What is your favourite drink using your product?
This is hard, because we sell over 600 products and there isn’t one that I do not like! However, at a push, and with the weather warming, we sell the most amazing white vermouth that is just perfect with loads of ice, a slice of grapefruit, and a dash of soda water. I am also becoming fairly smitten with Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay from New Zealand – Check it out!
Can you share a food/drink tip with our readers?
Spend a couple of pounds more on a bottle of wine. A £5 bottle only has about 50p worth of wine in it after duty, tax, shipping, and packaging. These prices don’t tend to increase much past this, so spending £10 on a bottle will get you about £3 worth of wine – it is noticeable! Oh, and buy from an independent, they know their stuff and will be able to show you wines you may normally miss!
For more information on GH Wine Merchants, visit – www.chwinemerchants.co.uk