In prestigious list of ‘UK’s Best Indies’, Truro wine shop is highest climber
Each year, leading industry publication Harpers Wine & Spirits releases a list of the 50 best independent wine merchants across the country in a bid to encourage people to seek out their expert local oenophiles.
The 2024 ‘50 Best Indies’ came with a welcome surprise for Truro’s Old Chapel Cellars, which not only topped the list of Cornish entrants at an impressive No.7, but was also named ‘Highest Climber’ in recognition of its growing national reputation.
The judges praised Old Chapel Cellars for being the first wine merchant in the UK to achieve B Corp status, which served to “highlight its focus on increasingly sourcing direct from exceptional and sustainable producers around the world.”
The expert panel, which was chaired by Andrew Catchpole, Editor of Harpers Wine & Spirit, also noted: “With all wines the emphasis is on offering points of difference and real value for the quality, with wine on tap, key kegs and refillable bottles just some of the innovations to back this up.”
Consisting of a small but dedicated team housed in an old Methodist Chapel on St Clement Street, Old Chapel Cellars could be described as one of the city’s hidden gems.
Co-Director Louisa Fitzpatrick said: “We recently took part in The BIG Christmas Market, and in doing so discovered that even Truro residents often don’t know we’re here! We’re slightly tucked away from the city’s main shopping streets and easy to miss. People are thrilled to learn that one of the best independent wine merchants in the country is on their doorstep, and that we have parking right outside too.”
Being a B Corp, sustainability is naturally a big focus for Old Chapel Cellars, who undertake local deliveries by e-bike, and use carbon neutral transport company Hoffman Haulage for many longer journeys.
The chapel’s wine refill station has proved popular, as has their range of canned wines which take less energy to recycle and save on transport emissions.
Louisa’s fellow Director Jamie Tonkin said: “We’re very proud to be named ‘highest climber’ in these well-respected awards – a testament to the hard work of the whole team in the midst of a tough economic climate. It’s heartening to see the public rallying behind local, independent, small businesses – as could be seen in Truro during the festive season – and the benefits we’re able to give back to the community as a result.”
Those benefits include the £700 Old Chapel raised last year for their chosen charity, iSightCornwall, and their contribution to upskilling local hospitality workers via WSET wine education courses at Cornwall Wine Centre.
Old Chapel Marketing Manager, Megan Stephens, said: “We’ve got lots of exciting plans for 2024, including running local tasting events and enriching our online content to really showcase the amazing producers we work directly with. Being named the 7th best independent wine retailer in the UK has given us a real boost and energised the whole team for the year ahead!”
Photos: Old Chapel Cellars