[Disclosure – I was gifted three bottles of wine from BRC Collective for the purpose of this blog]
Things might be looking up slightly in terms of some return to ‘normality’, but the mail order way of life is probably here to stay in some form or another.
After months of being unable to visit shops, bars and restaurants, the concept of ordering treats to be delivered to your door is all too familiar and it’s no surprise that some businesses are catering to this need.
They include BRC Collective – a new wine business launched by Paul Rowe and Lucy Scrivens from Hatton Park in Warwick. A passion project, it all started when self-taught wine connoisseur Paul organised the wine for a friend’s wedding 18 months ago.
He said: “That went really well and gave me more of a push to explore it as a business opportunity. I was getting weary of the London commute, which I’d been doing for four years, and so when lockdown hit in March, it allowed me to take stock and realise that this wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
“It was a passion project to begin with but there was quickly a realisation that there is a demand for it out there. I’ve always been someone who has pushed other people to pursue their dreams or passions. If you have something you strongly want to do you should throw the kitchen sink at it.”
The idea is simple – and it’s to take the hard work out of you having to choose your own wine, especially if you’re not that confident. BRC stock more than 250 wines from vineyards and wineries across the world, and also work wit local ale and spirit producers including Windmill Hill, in Cubbington, and Warwickshire Beer Company and Newbold Spirit, both in Leamington.
For Paul, 34, and Lucy, 30, it’s about taking customers on a personal journey when it comes to selecting a vintage.
“Most people when they walk into a wine merchant’s are not sure what they want to buy,” says Paul. “They like to be educated, that’s one of the most exciting things for me.”
“Or if you want a specific wine it is very difficult to find that on the internet so we work with a number of importers and distributors at vineyards and wineries across Europe.”
The three wines I was gifted to try were selected by Paul and while at the time of writing I’d only managed to try the red, it was enough to make me fairly confident in letting him choose my tipples in the future. A punchy, full-bodied Italian red from Lombardy, it was right up my street and something I’d never tried before.
The couple haven’t had an easy time of it, with personal obstacles making 2020 a difficult year, but they’re looking ahead to their next chapter. They’ve already apparently for a healthy pre-Christmas order book and are hoping to open their first retail unit by the end of 2021.
“Because of my roots – having lived most of my life in south Warwickshire – I would like that unit to be in either Kenilworth, Warwick or Leamington. I think there is definitely a space for us,” said Paul.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully there are some positives around shopping local at the moment and I think that will continue because, after the strain that they’ve been under, people want to support them.
“It won’t be an easy ride in 2021. People have started to change their habits. The big corporates will still rule but I think there will be more consideration for shopping local.”
For more information, visit https://brccollective.com/