I meet Ted Sandbach outside his new wine shop on Little Clarendon Street in Oxford a week before it opens, the builders still hard at work to get it ready in time.
The former Oddbins premises, which has stood empty since the company folded in January, has since been given a new lease of life, and is now being run by Oxford Wine Company where business is booming.
The opening however came just in time, because while non essential shops have been forced to close during the November lockdown, wine is clearly a vital necessity and so will be open, alongside The Oxford Wine Company’s premises in Turl Street, Botley, Standlake and a concession shop at Millets Farm, as well as the thriving Oxford Wine Cafe in Jericho.
Ted started the business in 1992, reviving the original Oxford Wine Company which ran from 1840-1914. “It’s been lovely to carry on that tradition,” he says, looking at the memorabilia from the earlier company scattered around the shop.
Having opened its doors this week Ted is therefore hopeful that the current surge in lockdown sales will prevail.
“I’ve been chasing this site for a couple of years now. Of course we’ve had to put our own stamp on it but it’s only taken a month to turn around this new premises on Little Clarendon Street premises and it’s gone very smoothly,” he says.
The new Little Clarendon Street shop will stock 1500 wines and 500 spirits.
READ ABOUT OXFORD WINE COMPANY’S SUCESS IN THE LAST LOCKDOWN: https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/the-oxford-wine-company-is-run-off-its-feet-as-domestic-orders-flood-in-and-two-of-its-stores-re-open-plus-our-new-monthly-wine-and-cheese-column/
So how does Ted feel about the new lockdown? “We will have to see how it goes. Obviously all our private sales to restaurants and pubs have disappeared overnight, but last time there was a huge surge in private sales so we are hopeful that people continue to support us by either coming into the shop or buying our wine online. I’m reasonably optimistic we will get through this again.”
So if his online business is going so well why open another shop? “People like to be able to talk to someone when they come in and choose a really good bottle of wine. We have some excellent produce and some really young vibrant, knowledgeable staff giving it a new energy. Plus our customers know we are a traditional wine merchants with lots of character, not a gimmicky wine shop.”
And last but not least, any tips? New trends? “The wine trends are evolving so fast these days with so many new contenders to the market. But at the moment there are some really interesting new wines emerging from Greece and Georgia. You could give them a go.”
For more information or to place an order go to: https://www.oxfordwine.co.uk/our-shops