Wine merchant starts clean up after floods

06 July, 2007

A major clean-up and renovation project is underway at an independent wine merchant’s in Sheffield after it was swamped by some of the UK’s worst floods in years.

Flood water swept through Le Bon Vin’s warehouse and shop in Brightside Lane, when heavy rain fell on June 25 and 26, leaving a trail of devastation worth an estimated £250,000.

Ten staff members, including owner Patrick Jouan, were forced to spend one night in an upstairs office on June 25 as rising flood water made it too dangerous for them to leave.

Jouan said: “People who haven’t experienced it don’t know what it was like. It was really scary. We could hear pallets falling over in the warehouse. The police knew we were there, but they had more urgent emergencies to attend to. We were ok, though and managed to get out the next day.”

Now Jouan and his staff are undertaking a huge clean-up operation and trying to keep morale high after losing thousands of pounds worth of stock.

Jouan said: “We managed to rescue some of the stock, such as a few bottles of our expensive Champagne, but we also lost some precious wine.”

Among the losses was a shipment of Château Beychevelle and a fork lift truck worth £50,000, which was so new it had not yet been insured.

Jouan said: “I have never seen anything like this in the 21 years I have been here. I think insurance will cover about 60 per cent of the cost, but this will certainly affect our business.”

So far, Le Bon Vin has continued to supply its internet and restaurant customers with their orders, but the shop could remain closed for up to two months while it is redecorated.

“By the end of August we should be up and running again,” said Jouan. “This is usually a busy time for us and we are getting lots of regular customers in the shop, so this is going to hit us hard, but we can’t do anything at all about it.”




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Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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