Cornish wine merchant a finalist in major national awards

Cornish wine merchant a finalist in major national awards

Truro-based wine importer Old Chapel Cellars is continuing to grow its national profile in 2022, receiving notification this week that it is a finalist in two categories at the IWC (International Wine Challenge) Merchant Awards 2022.

The awards are amongst the most prestigious in the industry and “celebrate the most successful small and large businesses, delivering an outstanding service to wine consumers across the UK.”

Old Chapel Cellars are the only Cornwall-based merchant to make the finals, and have done so in two categories – the Regional Merchants Awards (South West) and the Small Independent Merchant of the Year.

Photo: Sally Mitchell

Earlier this year, Old Chapel Cellars became the first UK wine merchant to achieve B Corp status – a highly regarded environmental and social certification given only to businesses which consider people and planet, as well as profit, in every decision they make.

Old Chapel Cellars is part of the Vindependent group, which combines the buying power of small independent UK wine merchants, giving them exclusive access to the most exciting wine producers from around the world.

The Cornish merchant is co-owned and run by business partners Jamie Tonkin and Louisa Fitzpatrick who, alongside their dedicated small team, sell wine to the hospitality trade and retail customers from a former chapel on St Clement’s Street in Truro.

Co-Owners Louisa Fitzpatrick and Jamie Tonkin. Photo: Sally Mitchell

On hearing the news of the awards shortlisting while on a buying trip to France and Spain, Jamie said: “As a small independent merchant, we’ve always worked hard in our little patch to offer excellent wines and service. To be recognised for that by our peers in the industry is a great feeling. Louisa and I are looking forward to attending the awards in London on 7th July.”

Louisa added: “Jamie and I have a clear business model for sustainable growth which involves being active in the local community and nurturing the talented people who work with us. Becoming a B Corp helped crystalise our approach, and that in turn seems to have given us a national platform within the industry. It’s a really exciting time for the whole team!”

Old Chapel Cellars have also invested in a new website this year to support online sales, and will shortly be relaunching its educational arm, Cornwall Wine Centre, which offers WSET (Wine & Spirits Educational Trust) courses with some of the best wine educators in the South West.