Harper Wells is California king

20 November, 2014

Harper Wells in Norwich has scooped the top prize in Off Licence News’ and the Wine Institute of California’s independent retailer promotion.

Co-owner Ed Wells has won a state-of-the-art sampling system from Wine by the Glass, plus Riedel glassware, having beaten competition from other leading indies who each ran a promotion on the region in September.

Eight retailers won an all- expenses paid buying trip to California in June as part of the initiative and then went head-to- head to see who could run the most innovative and successful activity.

In the face of stiff competition, judges from OLN and the Wine Institute of California crowned Harper Wells the winner in recognition of its flair and enthusiasm, which led to one in five bottles of wine sold in the store during September being Californian.

The store also impressed judges with its staff training and variety of consumer activity, which included themed masterclasses and social media marketing.

Wells said: “The whole team is buzzing from winning the promotion. We didn’t expect to be crowned winners but we knew that we’d given it 100% and couldn’t have done anymore.

“All of the team got fully behind California and our shop manager transformed our store into a little piece of the Golden State.

“Winning the Wine by the Glass tasting machine will be huge for us. No one else in our region has one and we know that our customers will really embrace this.

“Tasting is already a core part of our retail proposition and to be able to open some really serious samples and keep them fresh for weeks, not days, is exciting.

“The practical benefits will be obvious but we’ve no doubt at all that the marketing opportunities will be just as important. We really couldn’t ask for a more significant addition to our shop.”

Cheers Wine Merchants, Chester Beer & Wine, Define Food & Wine, The Guildford Wine Company, Hangingditch, Vino and The Wine Tasting Shop were all represented on the California trip along with Harper Wells.




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Talking terroir

When Bordeaux was in fashion, it seemed almost logical that we should fetishise winemakers. Here were people responsible for brilliant acts of blending, across large estates and multiple grape varieties, including superstars such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. These days, fashion has moved on and pinot noir is ascendant. As a result, the star of the winemaker has fallen and we find ourselves following a new star in the sky: terroir.

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