Uncorked: A Potted History

Following a harvest-time deluge caused not by a cloudburst but, more mundanely, a burst pipe feeding our upstairs neighbours, Uncorked opened its doors belatedly in Autumn 1994. The first, and, to date, the only incidence of water into wine recorded on our premises.

Six months later Jim Griffen was joined by Andrew Rae. In 2002, Jim and Andrew bought out the kindly benefactors who’d enabled the business to survive its early years, and embarked upon an ambitious programme of investment which saw one new stock and accounts system quickly replaced by another, as well as the second incarnation of our website.

In November 2002, Edward Eastwood joined the company, enabling us to make rapid, albeit noisy, technological progress, and Ed remains with us today, not just in charge of managing the latest iteration of the site but overseeing a new mobile version and the addition of more useful and timely data feeds for our customers. He is also responsible for a lot of our Italian range as his knowledge and experience in the trade goes back decades.

December 2002 saw Colin Wills start spending as much time at Uncorked as he had been doing money, gradually bringing his tastings venture into the fold. He remains a popular figure at Uncorked since his retirement in 2022, remembered for his excellent work as an educator, buyer and content creator, as well as for his zany window displays and impeccable tea making.

The happy arrival of Zoë Ayling in March 2007 saw a marked improvement in the shop’s quality of life (not to mention customer service and a lock on the loo door). 

Neil Thomson came to help us for Christmas 2012 but by March 2014 we decided we couldn’t cope without him, and he hasn’t escaped since. Though he has since helped produced the next generation of single malt and Spanish wine-loving Thomsons.

2012 saw the launch of this, the latest Uncorked website, reinforcing the company’s position as one of the UK’s leading small independent wine merchants. And while local rivals have come and gone (remember Laurent-Metge, or Fuller’s fine wine shop, not to mention countless Oddbins and Threshers?), Uncorked has thrived, building a solid reputation as The City’s Finest.