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Independent Wine Merchants – worth your time and money

It has long been my belief that the independent wine retail sector is the best place to find high-quality, exciting wines in the UK. Usually, there is also excellent customer service. I say this in the knowledge of previously being Contributing Editor for the ASDW magazine and buying wine from many different independent merchants. It’s how I prefer to buy wine in the UK, whether they are purely online, have a physical shop, or both.

Supermarkets democratised wine and helped turn us into a wine-drinking nation – there are some 28 million wine drinkers in the UK. However, supermarkets in general have too many mass-produced bland brands, and their choice has shrunk considerably. With the occasional exception, their wines tend to be on the safe and dull side. At an indie, you’ll taste the difference (if you’ll pardon the pun).

Try an Independent

Some are better than others, perhaps in range or by specialism. But all independents must have a talent for uncovering exciting wines and be friendly and approachable. Otherwise, they don’t survive, never mind thrive. Additionally, many of their wines come directly from the winegrower or are specialist wines only available in small quantities. All this often means that such wines would otherwise never be known in the UK.  Hence I think independents are sources of far better and far more exciting wines. These are the places to discover quality, flavours and create memories.

Wine Intelligence say there are 750 independents in the UK. Many of those are in the online Wine Merchant Directory.  Indeed, the number of independents has grown in the last ten years by 50%, mainly thanks to the internet. Online means that this is a vibrant sector worth your trust and hard-earned. Some are traditional with a long history; some are young mavericks.

All seek to offer a better alternative to the Big Four supermarkets and their ilk, and there’s bound to be one near you. They do a great job, so please do try them out! You’ll find that the wines recommended by Wine Alchemy always mention a stockist, so you can follow-up. You’ll find many independent wine merchants are featured alongside supermarkets and retail chains.


Perhaps you already use independent wine merchants? Have you tried buying wine from online specialists? Why not let me know your experience?

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