MON 27TH MAR 2017

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Averys Wine Merchants

Business Address: Averys Wine Merchants, 9a Culver Street, Bristol, BS1 5LD

Country: England,

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About Averys Wine Merchants

Averys can trace its history back to 1793 but it was in the 1920s with Ronald Avery at the helm that Averys sailed to success.  While other UK wine merchants bought wines from agents, Ronald made a point of travelling to wine estates to taste the wines with the winemakers.

He was an excellent taster and by tasting in situ, he quickly discovered the best wines, producers and vintages.

The relationships he built would become the cornerstone of Averys’ success and last until this day. In 1949, after sailing his yacht to Bordeaux, he met the Moueix family, one of today’s most important Bordeaux families. They encouraged him to buy a few cases of Château Pétrus, a wine which was unknown at the time but would become one of the most expensive wines in the world.

Ronald was a great advocate of right-bank claret at a time when it was unheard of to drink anything other than Médoc. He was the first person to list Pétrus and had stocks of the legendary Cheval Blanc from 1921.

Such was his reputation that many winemakers fresh from graduating in oenology would be keen to train under the great Ronald Avery. Famous winemakers who worked with Ronald at the start of their careers include Wolf Blass, one of Australia’s most flamboyant and well-loved winemakers.

How could anyone follow in these footsteps? That was the question that troubled the young John Avery, Ronald’s son, at the start of his career. But it needn’t have done.

In 1964, John spent his summer holiday in California where he was so impressed by the wines that he eventually persuaded his father to start selling those of Beaulieu Vineyards. The famous names of Ridge, Heitz and Sterling would follow and Averys became one of the early supporters of Californian wines.

The following year he travelled around Australia in a Rolls-Royce and met some of Australia’s leading wine figures. He came home with an order for 10 cases of Penfolds Grange 1960. This was the first time Grange had been imported to the UK and, of course, it would go on to become Australia’s most famous wine.

Not content with being first to import many of the famous names of Australia and California, John began to explore New Zealand. He imported the first commercial New Zealand wines to the UK in 1978, a year before New Zealand even produced a sauvignon blanc.

Owing to his forthright opinions and excellent tasting ability, John became one of the world’s most admired wine judges. He was the first European to judge at the New Zealand Wine Show in 1978 and continued travelling and judging on wine panels around the world right up until his death in 2012.

Today, Averys’ insatiable appetite for wine excitement is embraced by a team of wine buyers and John’s daughter, Mimi, who continue to innovate and pioneer up-and-coming wine regions and winemakers.