Cambridge Wine Merchants took the top spot in the UK’s 50 Best Indies Awards 2017, which was announced last night at the annual Think Indie, Drink Indie event in London.

The awards are designed to recognise and honour the independent merchants that have done the most to drive forward quality and innovation in the retail of wines, beers and spirits.

Cambridge Wine Merchants, which now comprises seven outlets across Cambridge, was crowned the UK’s Best Independent Wine Merchant 2017. The wine company, which was set up in 1993 by Hal Wilson and Brett Turner, also operates a wholesale arm, which supplies Oxford and Cambridge colleges, as well as some restaurants and pubs in the area. The company has a range of 400 malt whiskies, 800 wines and a wide selection of other drinks. It also runs various wine tastings and events, and it is accredited as a WSET school for wine education.

Hal Wilson told DRN: “We are trying to collaborate and work with indies as much as we can; I am one of the founder members and I am a board member of Vindependents, which isn’t just a buying group – a lot of it is about receiving advice from other indies.

“It means a lot that this award is from nominations from other independent merchants. If other people in the trade think we are doing a good job then that means more to me than if it came from other judges that are not fighting in the trenches every day.

“I am delighted that everyone sees we are working hard and hopefully it is slightly inspiring for other people that may want to rise into this top 50 list in the future.”

A close contender for the top spot, in second place, was D Byrne & Co, Lancashire, followed by Vagabond Wines and then Lea & Sandeman, both in London. Fifth place went to The Oxford Wine Company, followed by Noel Young Wines in Cambridge; Hedonism Wines, London; Hennings Wine Merchants, Sussex; The Old Bridge Wine Shop, Huntingdon; and then in tenth place, the Cheshire-based Corks Out.

The full list of fifty is as follows: