Bat & Bottle shortlisted for Wine Club of Year

Tiny Rutland wine business, Bat & Bottle, has been shortlisted for the IWC (International Wine Challenge) Wine Club of the Year.

Ben and Emma Robson co-founded Bat & Bottle, which was one of the first businesses Great Food Club added to its recommended list, in 1994. Last year, Small Business Saturday named it as one of the 100 most-special small businesses in the UK and now its Wine Club is one of two that has been shortlisted for UK Wine Club of the Year. Emma and Ben will compete with the mighty Wine Society for the title.

“You couldn’t ask for two more opposite contenders,” said Emma. “Ben and I run our two-man operation from our warehouse on Oakham Enterprise Park. The Wine Society has professional photographers, copywriters and a team of staff to market and fulfil its orders. The two of us do absolutely everything: from travelling Italy and finding our wines (that’s the great bit), to sales, packing, book-keeping and building our website, right down to painting our walls and wine racks!

“We are lucky enough to enjoy great support and help from friends and family, but our business has survived and thrived because of our consistency in quality, strong relationships with both our suppliers and our customers and our high standards of service given with a very personal touch.”

Ben, who is also a judge for the Decanter World Wine Awards and responsible for all wine buying decisions, admitted to being pleasantly surprised by the recognition. “We have known what we wanted our wine club to be for many years, the challenge is communicating an honest message without resorting to sharp practises. We now have wine club members throughout the UK enjoying wines that we could only previously bring home a few bottles for ourselves. These are rare parcels of wine that went un-shipped just because the volume (and frankly the expense) didn’t add up commercially.”

As well as receiving 10% discount on bottle prices, Bat & Bottle Wine Club members also get first refusal on any special offers. They receive a Bat & Bottle folder, handmade locally by the Stamford Notebook Company, for keeping the notes that are sent out with each case. Every wine is accompanied by Ben’s description of the wine producer and the land, how the wine is made, and where and when Ben recommends it could be enjoyed. The design encourages people to add their own tasting notes alongside Ben’s tasting note.

You can join their wine club online here.

The author:

Matt lives in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. He is passionate about the independent food & drink sector and founded Great Food Club in 2010 after being inspired by local producers near his home town.