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News > OBA News > George Read (L01/04) opens up a new independent wine merchant in Bruton

George Read (L01/04) opens up a new independent wine merchant in Bruton

Always keen to support OBs with their new ventures, we look at George's new shop, 'The Cellarhand', tucked away in Bruton.
16 Nov 2020
OBA News
George with just some of his stock.
George with just some of his stock.

 

George, tell me a bit about your time at King's?

My experience of King's was split into two parts, outdoors and indoors. I love sport and most of my enjoyment came from being out on the rugby pitch or astro-turf. Although I think my father would have a preferred to spectate at a few more King’s victories rather than our regular losses through the course of the rugby season! That said, it was a great way of expending some energy and feeding my competitive nature. Though I clearly still had energy left over when I returned to the classroom; possibly too much as some of my teachers discovered! I remember Mr Dawes found me particularly exasperating, and I found myself outside the classroom door on numerous occasions. He was an excellent teacher though, and despite the time I spent outside the classroom, I was chuffed with the B in French that he helped me achieve.

What have you been doing since leaving King's?

Since I left school, I have tried my hand at many things. I like to think of myself as a bit of a free spirit and always felt it was interesting to try numerous things, to see different parts of the world and to meet people from different cultures. With wine, I found a way to do all of that. I was fortunate enough to land a job as a cellar hand in Marlborough, New Zealand where I worked on the front-line with over 100 people from all around the world making wine! It was an amazing insight into the industry and I had such a great experience. It led me on to undertaking vintages in England, France (twice) and Chile, where I met my beautiful wife who is also a qualified winemaker. Luckily for our children, she is very academic and therefore, hopefully, they have her genes in that department! I spent a further few years working for a wine merchant in Bristol which gave me experience in the commercial side of the business, and provided the opportunity to learn about and taste wines from regions and parts of the world that I was not familiar with.

Why Bruton? I’m Bruton born and bred and my family have been here for at least 4 generations. My great grandfather worked at the local timber yard with the horses and I’m told he even taught the gentry how to ride. My grandfather was a plumber and had a shop on the High Street called Read and Son. My great uncle ´Ted´ Edmundson worked at King’s for many years under David Hickley, who respected him greatly, maintaining the school and grounds; and my father, along with my mother, ran a successful export furniture business for around 4 decades from the same building I am now trading from. Alongside my family connections, there is a growing food scene in and around Bruton, with a great number of independent shops on the High Street, so we felt there was real opportunity and market for a specialist wine business here.

And your new business, The Cellarhand.  How did that come about?

The business started trading from the shop at the Old Mill Business Park at the end of October. It’s not ideal timing with the latest lockdown coming into effect, but we are very grateful that we can remain open and at least continue to trade, as the government deems wine to be an essential product, which we wholeheartedly agree with!

My wife and I hand-picked a wide selection of wines from around the world that we believe represents both great quality and great value. Our selection is largely dominated by the old-world countries of France, Italy and Spain, alongside some more unusual discoveries that you might not have tried before. We’ve assembled a broad spectrum of styles and varieties, while still being accessible at various price points. We also have a small selection of spirits, ciders and beers from artisanal producers, some of which are locally made and we have ambitions for a small amount of wholesale to local establishments in the near future. Art also plays a part in our shop and we’re lucky to have some pieces from a talented artist called Giles Penny, who is better known for his sculptures, which includes the man on the bench which is down by the stepping stones in Bruton.

 

For more information about The Cellarhand, visit - https://www.thecellarhand.co.uk

 

From all the Old Brutonian Association, we wish George and his family all the very best in their new venture and can't wait to have a look around the store.  If you would like to share your business venture with other OBs, please email oba@kingsbruton.com

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