As part of our meet the team series we wanted to interview business owners Louisa and Jamie to dive deeper into how they they met, how they manage the business and their future plans.
Jamie, what inspired you to begin the business back in 2009?
Cornwall is a place close to my heart, so when the opportunity arose to move back to Cornwall and set up an independent business in the county I love, in my old work place, it was a no brainer. Not to mention the surf!
Louisa, how did you meet Jamie and what drew you into the business?
I lived up the hill to the Old Chapel and would often pass it on my daily route. As the wine trade is very small, me and Jamie would regularly talk about all things wine and how his business was such a hidden gem in the City that nobody knew it was there. This is what drew me to the business, I knew it had so much potential and saw a great opportunity to join forces.
Who does what in the business, you can be honest now?
We couldn't be more different in our working practices, however we share the same goals and aspirations, we just get there in very different ways. The way we work is like chalk and cheese, it was a risk for both of us going into business together, however actually, that’s what makes it work. We both have responsibility for everything but we naturally fall into Jamie doing purchasing, inventory and finance and myself doing sales, marketing, human resources.
Being of the same vintage (77 was an excellent year of port), do people ever assume you are a couple?
Yes it has happened, it makes us both laugh, but makes our partners laugh even more.
How do you go about buying wine for the business?
A rigorous selection process which involves a lot of tasting and relationship building with small independent producers but also using our contacts for the last 20 years.
What are the future plans for Old Chapel Cellars?
We are looking to take on more wineries, maintain our growth and living up to our award of being IWC Regional Merchant of the year for South West England.
What’s been your proudest moment in the wine business so far?
There have been many, but to name a few, becoming B Corp Certified at the start of the year was a very proud moment for us, also winning the IWC Regional Merchant of the year for South West England was an incredible achievement. Becoming a finalist in the IWC Small Independent Merchant of the year was also really great but finally, something we are most proud of, our amazing team!
What's the biggest challenge in your business right now?
Increased costs across the global and domestics supply chain
Volatile exchange rates
Climate Change - resulting in poor harvest
Proposed government changes to duty
Cost of living crisis
Uncertain economic outlook
That’s off the top of my head…
What’s the best thing about working in the wine trade?
Travel, wine, food & people, to put it simply. I love that the wine trade is always changing and you're always learning new things. Something else that I find fulfilling is watching younger people come into the industry and have so much passion and enthusiasm for wine, it’s really great to see.
What’s the most underrated wine style or grape variety in your opinion?
Louisa says...Cremant de Loire, a sparkling wine from France and made in the same way as Champagne, but it can’t be called that because it's not from the Champagne region. We have a fantastic Cremant de Loire in brut, rose and vintage styles, all of which are more affordable than Champagne.
Finally, What bottle will you be taking home this weekend?
Louisa says...In the summer I went to Saumur in the Loire Valley, and I’m loving their Cabernet Franc!
Jamie says...The Alceno Organic because I think its great value!