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Raise a glass to Ancaster wine business

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A couple who live just outside Ancaster have launched a business selling wine.

Sarah and Steve Whitford, who are both aged around 50, created Wriggly Tin Wine as a way to boost their pension pots as they approach retirement.

Sarah previously worked as an account manager for Scottish and Newcastle, and also owns a business serving the horsey set. Steve is ex-forces and now has a senior role with the Nokia phone company.

Running the business from home in Wilsford, where they have lived for 11 years, after moving from Herefordshire, means they keep their costs down, while still able to sell wine across the country, using the skills and experience Sarah gained in her career.

Sarah told the Journal: “We personally select all of the wines, we look for small producers and stay away from mass produced supermarket wines. This allows us to focus on the quality of the wine, but you’d be surprised as quality doesn’t automatically mean expensive.”

This still means they can offer wines from as little as £7, just like a supermarket.

Sarah said: “We buy wines from sustainable businesses and work with our agents and producers to achieve this.”

The agents are national, who source wines from around the world. If they have no agents, the couple buy direct from the vineyard. They haven’t enjoyed business trips to vineyards yet, though Sarah did in her earlier career.

Despite fears a weaker pound after the Brexit referendum might increase prices, this has yet to happen.

Sarah says her business aims to keep abreast of who is producing the best wines and she is keen for customers to try something new. A favourite country of hers at the moment is Uruguay.

The Wriggly Tin’s wines are organic, biodynamic and vegan/vegetarian. Most have a story to tell, such as the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc coming from the only Maori-owned vinyard in New Zealand.

The couple sell both to individuals as well as bars and restaurants in and around Grantham.

“Most of our private customers are between the age of 25 and 55. They are people that love wine but want to know more about what they’re drinking. Most people haven’t a clue which wine goes with which food. We can offer lots of advice, but sometimes people just know what they like and that’s fine too.”

People’s tastes vary but Sarah says various tastings have changed people’s perceptions and buying habits.

The couple are meeting with vineyards, their agents, as well as their trade customers as they build up the business. They have begun attending events such as the recent Belton Horse Trials, taking a stand with the Grantham Business Club, whose meetings they attend. Sales have just started at the Wilsford Post Office too and they have a wine tasting at the Wilsford Hall on June 1.

Now, the couple are busily seeking English wine to add to their range, particulalrly if it’s from Lincolnshire.

Sarah added: “English wine is hugely popular and some of my trade clients are keen to stock local English wine, so we’re on the hunt.”


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