I’m a fan of Liberty Wines. They bring us an amazing collection of wines, producers and talent. At their tastings, and stands at wine fairs, they open more bottles than anyone ever needs to! They know how to smile, be welcoming and above all be tolerant so that new and ‘youngcomers’ to the wine trade are not intimidated. That said, Liberty Wines is probably the most sophisticated of the wine importers that we have available to us.
A few years ago we interviewed David Gleave MW (Chairman at Liberty) for our podcast at Kevin Ecock’s WinePod. His story is a good one. Listen back to it HERE. We blogged that up here on Wine Ireland.
This week Liberty Wines held three portfolio tastings. The first was in Dublin (Westbury Hotel), followed by Edinburgh and Manchester. It was manned by countless producers, attended by hundreds of trade professionals, served everyone a generous lunch at the Wilde restaurant and, yes!, opened over 300 quality wines.
This was, without any doubt, a brilliant post pandemic outing for the wine and hospitality trade. Liberty wasn’t copying anyone with ‘green washing’ themes or fancy promises of bringing new deals to improve our businesses and lives. They simply brought their expertise and their wines. It’s enough- if you’re good enough.
There were an impressive 45 new producers to the portfolio on show since the last Liberty tasting in February 2020. From Liberty this, believe it or not, means there was only one new wine from all of the countries India, Croatia, Slovenia, China, Canada and Japan. Each of these are already well represented! England bucked the trend as there were two new Sparkling wines from the Rathfinny Estate in Essex … get a chance to try these. (I rated them above the already listed and prize winning Bride Valley cremant and the Nytimber Multi Vintage…) ‘New’ to Liberty means enveloping many traditional areas with renewed vigour. Every region and often many producers within a region have had new wines added into the Liberty portfolio. It is a feast of brilliance.
Many wine companies tell us that they ‘educate’. Very few do. Many wine companies tell us one thing when all they are doing is burnishing their appearance for the benefit of their bottom line. Cases sold rather than wine sold! Liberty is different.
The Liberty Wines education programme is genuine and ranks among the best in the world. On the one hand they have three tremendous educators employed. Their web site even lists them alongside everyone else in the company. It’s an Education Team.
Best of all, however, is the very innovative Liberty Wines Apprentice scheme. Liberty tells us that the ….’programme offers a detailed yet wide-ranging experience as well as funding for the WSET Level 4 Diploma and two vintages in the northern and southern hemisphere ‘ and they are ‘ looking for someone with some knowledge and experience of the wine trade, who has passed WSET Level 2 with Distinction and is preferably also studying for or has attained Level 3. The ideal candidate would demonstrate the potential to become a first-class sales person’. This really does bring joining the wine trade onto a new level altogether. While they do emphasise that this is a London based programme Ireland is well represented right now by Apprentice Aoife Curtin. Read the blog from Aoife’s first vintage HERE.
Welcoming newcomers and developing youngcomers will mean a sustainable trade in the very real sense of the word. Liberty Wines. Well worth supporting.