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Allora, “wine-fuelled” is a perhaps touch misleading. As a team of former sommeliers, wine importers, and hospitality professionals, we have, fortunately, spent our fair share of time enjoying and sharing beautiful wines and spirits between the hours of 9 to 5, and well beyond. However, as the doors to the hospitality industry closed in March 2020, so did the doors of our warehouse – and that of our tasting fridge. In fact, like many businesses working in our beloved industry, they shut for the first time in the more than 20 years that some of our team have been working with them. Over the past couple of decades, we’ve had the pleasure of advising and supplying the UK’s top sommeliers, chefs, and establishments. Taste pioneers ranging from The River Café, The Fat Duck and Spring to Trullo, Bocca di Lupo, 10 Cases, and many more.
We couldn’t save the hospitality industry, and sadly a slick logistics arm and team of Italian wine experts weren’t best qualified to steer a nation through a pandemic (although the jury is still out…). We could, however, do our bit to save the nation’s sanity and, in doing so, save our own! For us, that meant taking our small production wines and spirits, which we import directly from producers with unparalleled passion for quality, experience, and sustainability, and delivering them to your door, without a fuss.
In true bootleg style, we launched our ‘Wine Survival Packs’ from the depths of lockdown, via none other than WhatsApp. We spread the word of our wine cases through friends, family, and friends of friends, and soon found ourselves making new friends, all of whom laid the foundations for the Sociovino community. We curated cases that made accessing our unique wines as simple as possible – styles that can be recognised from novice to nobility – to do our bit to bring what we love about hospitality to your homes: big flavours, simplicity of service and the sense of community we all craved. In the process, we made a load of memories – for ourselves, and much to our joy, for our customers too. That, and the unexpected snowballing of our bootleg wineboxes, suggested there were more memories to come, even in a time we thought we’d rather forget.
The following months saw the hospitality industry re-open, and with it our friends began to get back to what they'd missed so much, but we couldn't help think we'd unlocked a new passion here. By delivering to your doors, we'd opened a whole new door of our own, and we didn't want to stop! We also absolutely loved all of the conversations we had with you, hearing about how you'd enjoyed the wines and spirits, and helping you pick your next favourite bottle. And here we are, Sociovino is now in its infancy, and our intention is to continue these conversations and hopefully start a few more.
As many of our producers well know, the greatest wines often come from times of difficulty – unexpected vintages that call for new levels of creativity in the winery. In fact, that’s one of the reasons we love working with small wineries and distilleries – they’re brave, resilient to bullshit, and possess an instinctive knowledge of their land that always leads to something memorable. It would make sense, then, for our team to take a leaf out of their book. We did and will continue to marry big personalities with a penchant for tradition, with even bigger ones eager to innovate in order to build something memorable, brave and bullshit-free. Most crucially, however, we’ll continue to build it for you – our customer, our friend, our ‘socio’, as any good winemaker would. Because, put simply, without you we’re just vino and we all know that every bottle tastes better when uncorked in great company – with delicious food, and colourful conversation.
We hope you’ll join us to raise a glass (or two) to kick off the latest chapter of our story. It’s one that will be filled with more discoveries, of small producers, even bigger flavours, and the same, fuss-free service. A chapter that’s been started by you and for you, and one in which there’s plenty more to be written – and drunk.
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