About Us

what we do

We are an English (very) Independent Wine Merchant. We are a married couple who have spent our last 30 years specialising in importing Italian artisan wines, we also run a very personal and informative Wine Club.

No minimum purchase; just really honest, carefully selected, sustainably farmed - and always, always delicious - good wine, available to everyone over 18.

We buy wine directly from the farm/cellar, mostly from small artisan producers, which, in turn, we deliver wine directly to your door, simply for you to enjoy a glass of well-made, lovely wine at home.

If the choice feels daunting, we are more than happy to help with wine recommendations for you and/or your business / office. Our gift service is personal, well packaged and we include your personal message.

Whether you want wine for celebrating, a wedding gift list, enhancing a fine dining experience, or you are giving someone that extra thoughtful, special gift; or you want to hold a wine tasting for entertainment, fund-raising or you simply want to learn more about italian wine;  we can provide you with just the right wine and service that you have been looking for.

You can buy your wine online from us, over the phone, or by email - or visit us at our warehouse. You will receive in-person, professional, friendly service and reliable nationwide wine delivery.

We have run our own unique wine club since 2015, please do contact us if you are interested in further details. It has been recognised as one of the best Subscription Wine Clubs in the UK by both Decanter and IWC.

We started trading in 1994, a classic kitchen table and van operation that started as a very simple operation in Uppingham, Rutland.  The operation has now travelled all the way to ……. the outskirts of Oakham, also in Rutland, the smallest county in England! This is not quite as small a move as it sounds: we weren’t in Uppingham for long before we had upped sticks and moved to Knightley, Staffordshire, where we remained until 2003.

We have always been a pared down business, as all the frills are found in the stock. At first, we aimed to sell cricket bats as well as a range of wines. The cricket side has been and gone, wine remains a passion, but a much more focused one.

We caught the Italian bug thanks to a chance meeting with a Benedictine monk at a kissing gate! He introduced us to the late Felicita Pask-Hughes, a charming Italian lady who came to Britain after the war. She had a remarkable eye for quality and was fearless in the wines she imported. In a time of straw-wrapped bottles of Chianti, she was importing Isole e Olena and Sassicaia. In 1998 Ben was told (by Felicita) that we must buy her business because she was (then) 82. We did and the die was cast.

Felicita’s influence on us, boosted by six months wine travel round Italy in 2003, means that our emphasis is mostly, but not completely, on italian wine. We also ship directly from Matthieu Faniel, a small grower-producer in Champagne, and we carry a small selection of artisan gins and other spirits.

Whether from Italy or anywhere else, however, we have developed a taste for wines made by men and women who cherish the history and traditions of their hills and valleys. Such individuals make wines with a sense of place and unique character. We aspire to follow our mentor’s lead and we do not buy wines for our customers – we find customers for our wines. We try to be serious when buying, but are never too serious when you are buying from us!

who we are

Ben Robson

Ben Robson, Bat and Bottle

Ben has always worked in the wine trade, he still harbors an ambition to be a demolition expert. He buys the wine and sells it, designs and writes the literature. He was the Tuscany Chair in 2020 and 2021 for the DWWA (Decanter World Wine Awards) and has been a judge since 2015. Ben was also declared the first ever winner of the “Online Wine Buyer Award” at the 2020 inaugural London Wine Fair 'Wine Buyer Awards'.  He no longer plays cricket and has instead taken up L'Eroica-style cycling on a wayward 1950's Hetchins Curly.


Emma Robson

Emma Robson

Emma's background was in administration and warehouse management; she makes sure things happen and builds us robust systems that enable us to deliver excellent customer service. She claims to have a ‘Barbie’ palate and only a little product knowledge, a useful scam to avoid having to write tasting notes, even after 30 years!  She enjoys drinking wine far more than tasting it! She is by far the better Italian speaker, and has importantly earned us the authority to import wine under bond.


our thanks

Our thanks are always with you, our Wine Club members and all of our customers. Please keep talking to us, buying from us and coming back for more! We are a small business and hugely grateful for all your support.

Thanks also to our extremely patient parents, especially memories of  Malcolm in his role as part-time warehouseman, John for a reliable flow of sound advice, some of which we have had the sense to take, and Ten, for a life-time of covering the more familial duties so often neglected by the pair of us.

For their care and hours of hard labour, we thank Gill Smith and Matt Gregory for such longstanding, unswerving loyalty and support. 

Thanks also to Andrew Castell for our first  20 years of relentless and most excellent proof reading.

Small Robsons, Bat and Bottle

Most of all thanks to Polly and Rosie, as without them it may have just been a business.