Oxford Wine Co is celebrating the performance of its three stores over Christmas and said December was a record month for the company.

Emily Silva, head of retail and marketing, told DRN that sales in all three of the company’s shops were up on 2018 and its city centre Turl Street store showed a 16% increase.

She said: “The balance between locations worked beautifully. Our town centre shop, which is on a pedestrian street, saw a phenomenal amount of footfall, as well as minimal discounts.

“Our shop on Oxford’s Botley Road sold a huge amount of wine as cases, since it has the most valuable of Oxford assets, on-site parking.”

She said the head office also did well in managing the wholesale and corporate gift aspects of the business.

“We had delivery vans going out every weekday and even on Saturdays this year, which made balancing wholesale orders with keeping our shops stocked much easier.”

In 2019 Oxford Wine Co focused on staff training, which Silva said helped make its shops a destination in the city “for great advice”, which had paid off through the festive season.

The company now has six staff with the WSET Diploma, three Diploma students, one MW, one MW student and one student on Plumpton College’s foundation degree in winemaking.

Silva said: “Our strong base of regular customers have been trading up, and those people who may do most of their wine shopping at supermarkets were visiting us because of our reputation for quality products and good advice.

“Our staff totally smashed it this Christmas. The dedication from everyone was amazing,
and it was brilliant to see everyone working together almost seamlessly. We had two shop managers doing their first Christmas, which could have been a recipe for difficulties, but they did a great job and really stepped up to
the mark.”

Silva added that moving into 2020 the business is “hitting the ground running”.

She said: “Contrary to what many may expect, January is a very busy month in the wine trade. Yes, we still have customers, despite what advocates of Dry January may have you believe. There is plenty of wine to taste, plans to make for the upcoming year and of course lots of tidying up to do after a very busy December.

The company has a number of projects on the horizon this year, including the launch of its new website, which aims to extend the service it provides in its retail stores.

Its Oxford Wine School will be running a full complement of WSET courses, from Level One to Level Three this year, and the company is adding to the Oxford Wine group with a new on-trade site in west London from George Sandbach, the man behind Sandy’s piano and wine bar. The new bar will open mid- February in Chelsea.

In addition, Will Sandbach, son of managing director Ted Sandbach, is working on a new venture, Vind, an online business launching in the summer.

It will allow consumers to connect directly with wineries through the use of an interactive map.