Thursday, 23 June 2011

England's oldest Wine Merchants at our July gathering !

The next wine club in July is an extra special one, we have an 'Expert' bringing wine & experience by the bucket load, well maybe not a bucket load of wine !

Lawrence Page will be guiding us through wines of his choice.  Page & Son is a family business, based in Ramsgate, established over 200 years ago in 1804.

This makes Page & Sons England's oldest family owned Wine Merchants.

Their history taken from Page & Sons website ~

The Beginning
It all began in the year before the Battle of Trafalgar whilst England was fighting the Napoleonic Wars. At that time, Ramsgate was the port from which troops and stores sailed to the Continent and the Duke of Wellington (then Sir Arthur Wellesley) stayed with his Headquarters staff in Ramsgate at the London Hotel (the site now occupied by the HSBC Bank) which was owned by Robert Page who had been joined by his younger brother Richard in 1802.

Wellington's Advice
At that time, there was a threat of invasion by Napoleon and among those caught up in the invasion scare was a grocer named Fisher who offered his shop on the corner of Harbour Street and Market Place for sale and hastily left the town. The Iron Duke, meanwhile, had taken a liking to young Richard, then just 24 and advised him to buy the empty grocer's shop - Richard took his advice and invested his life savings in the new venture in 1804, establishing a business which has been passed on from father to son for seven generations.

Years of expansion
Like all businesses, market trends have altered and each generation has adapted to the needs of the day. After a while, the firm expanded and moved into new premises at 2,4 and 6 Queen Street which boasted some quite magnificent cellars in which the firm carried out the bottling of many wines such as Vintage Ports and Sherries etc. as well as beers. When eventually, it was decided to concentrate solely on the Wine Trade, the firm moved next door to 8 Queen Street where it continued to trade until 1974.

Recent history
Today, the business is run by the sixth and seventh generation of the family - Lawrence and Jonathan Page. In the late 1960's, whilst the firm was successfully expanding its retail shops, there was a substantial growth in the wholesale trade and it soon became apparent that larger, more suitable premises would have to be found from which the firm could operate its service to the licensed trade.

In 1974, Page & Sons moved into a new, purpose built warehouse at Hopes Lane, Ramsgate (built on part of the old Ramsgate Airport). Apart from the benefits for both customers and staff of operating from a new, modern warehouse, it now meant that the firm was able to handle an increased amount of palletised goods as well as offering ample car parking space for customers wishing to call at the warehouse.

I think this is one month where we will all make the effort to take notes, Mark & Linda no pressure on producing Tasting Sheets for notes & enough pens !!!

Time to stick a cork in it.


S x


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