In the beginning
Our roots extend back to 1986 when we started our business with the help of 'The Enterprise Allowance Scheme', which gave budding young entrepreneurs the chance of receiving £40 a week (the equivalent of state benefit at the time) for a year, to help launch new businesses!
Three friends Lance, Neil and Peter (who left in 1991) had a wish to work for themselves promoting something they passionately believed in and could enjoy at the same time - hence organic wine! So with a short list of organic vineyard addresses, a somewhat battered Citroen 2CV and a tent, we set off for France and researched our first wine list which consisted of just twelve wines and was published on a single sheet of A4 paper.
Working from our front room in a terraced house in east Reading with no experience and an empty order book, meant that the early years (about eight!) were very tough and financially very unexciting! However we stuck to our beliefs that organic wines were the way forward and continued to be inspired by the quality-oriented, passionate growers we met and other committed people in the organic industry.
Vintage Roots today
These days, however, the team has grown somewhat to cope with your demand and our list consists of some four hundred organic wines, dozens of beers along with numerous organic ciders, spirits, liqueurs, juices and even chocolate (well how could we resist?). We moved recently to a farm near Heckfield with an organic shop out front (do come and visit!) with more warehouse space to allow us to do what we do best and where the curious cows look in through the window at our busy office – beats corporate life!
We are thrilled to have won numerous awards over the years including Green Retailer of the Year at the Drinks Business Green Awards 2015 and the Decanter accolade for Best Specialist Independent Wine Merchant back in 2008– testament to your faith in us and our continued hard work (pic of Neil & Lance in tuxes collecting award) sourcing great organic wines and other drinks (do try the chocolate too!).
To have a wide range is one thing, but to have a wide range of quality goods is quite another. Every item that appears on our list is tasted at one of our many tastings throughout the year and constantly reviewed for quality. They are tasted 'blind', amongst many others of their type. In this way, we are not influenced by price, or the 'reputation' of a particular producer. We are simply focused on choosing what we find to be the best for you in terms of flavour, interest, quality and value for money.
It's also very important to us that every product is accompanied by appropriate organic certification. In this way you can be absolutely confident that anything you buy from us meets the necessary legal requirement to be called 'organic'. All Vintage Roots products are certified as Organic to the standards of the UK's Organic Food Federation http://www.orgfoodfed.com/
The environment, how we trade and who we trade with are all very important to us. Have a look at how we conduct our business here. here.
The original founders and directors of the business are Neil Palmer and Lance Pigott. They both work in the business still, on a day to day basis.
The business is a lot bigger than it was of course, and now includes a team of fifteen and more. Many of us still have to multi task and apart from all the buying, marketing, finance, office and customer service roles, we have warehouse (we pick and pack all our own orders), drivers and a hard working sales team too.