If you’ve had the best yard and best design studio build and decorate your superyacht – or blown the annual budget on a luxury yacht charter for that matter – you will want to celebrate in style and that means only one thing: suitably fine wines. There is no shortage of provisioners – excellent ones, too – but I would suggest heading straight for one or more members of The Bunch, a loose coalition of six of the UK’s finest independent wine merchants.
Comprised of Adnams (founded 1872), Berry Bros & Rudd (1698), Corney & Barrow (1780), Lea & Sandeman (1988), Tanners (1842) and Yapp Bros (1969), The Bunch boasts four Royal warrants, 1,000 years of experience and 15,000 wines.
Theirs is a weird combination of rivalry and support. Each of the six merchants is independent of the others but they are united in the belief that buying wine from independents is more interesting and worthwhile than buying from supermarkets or high street chains, which have to buy in large amounts, thus ignoring the smaller producers.
The Bunch offers unrivalled provenance, personal service and knowledge. Adnams has some truly individual wines as well as its own award-winning beers and spirits; Berry Bros has the most innovative and informative website of any wine merchant in the world; Corney & Barrow has remarkable, exclusive agencies such as Champagne Salon, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Ch. Pétrus; Lea & Sandeman is strong on burgundy and Italy; Tanners is excellent for buying en primeur; and Yapp Bros is famously good on the Loire, Rhône and quirkier corners of France.
These guys will remember what you bought last time: your likes and dislikes. They can deliver to your superyacht with no fuss and will also give the best possible advice (Berrys’ alone boasts eight Masters of Wine).
Their reach is also longer than one might imagine. For example, Corney’s has offices in Hong Kong and Singapore as does Berrys’, which also has an office in Japan. Even tiny Yapp Bros, based in the small town of Mere, Wiltshire, is practised in supplying superyachts and recently sent a consignment of fine Hermitage, Côte Rôtie and Condrieu to a Malta-registered superyacht cruising the Mediterranean.
Place an order with Corney’s, say, from your office in London, New York or Singapore and it will deliver from its bonded UK cellars direct to the “captain’s stores” in Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Genoa or wherever, duty- and tax-free.
The members of The Bunch are a quirky lot with – between them – the finest wines in the UK. They will charge you for these, of course, but they won’t charge for their centuries of expertise.