Ottery wine shop celebrates 40 years in business
PUBLISHED: 08:00 22 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:37 25 June 2019
An independent wine shop in Ottery with a passion for delivering 'stand out quality' is raising a glass to four decades in business.
Christopher Piper Wines was given six months by sceptics when it first opened in Broad Street in 1979 but has proven popular with its variety of worldwide wine to be known as the 'purveyors of pleasure'.
Christopher Piper and managing director John Earle, who have known each since the age of 11, joined forces to start the business and selected all of the shop's wines.
Mr Piper has been a wine maker in the Beaujolais region of France since 1976 and continues to work in the area for most of September.
He said one of the secrets to the business' success was their strong team, with several members of staff having worked for the shop for 25 years.
Mr Piper said: "If you'd asked me in 1979 whether we would be celebrating our 40th anniversary in 2019, I would have thought you crazy. When we opened up our shop, most people in town gave us six months before we closed or moved on.
"When we decided not to close on early-closing Wednesday, there was uproar but we felt that we needed to trade as much as possible.
"We import wines directly from all over the world and the key criteria to achieve a listing with us is stand-out quality.
"This may come at a price but it means that we can, with total confidence, offer one of the highest regarded wine selections in the UK.
"We want our wines to have real flavour and not be insipid, we want our wines to have attitude and not swim in a sea of mediocrity and above all, we want our wines to offer great value. So, we want wines that put smiles on the faces of all our customers, we are purveyors of pleasure."
Over the course of 40 years, the business has overcome two economic crises but says its ability to read trends ahead of competitors has been its biggest success.
Mr Piper said: "We can react to local needs and preferences but above all, build-up close relationships with our local customers.
"In terms of our longevity, the fact that we have a very successful national wholesale business has greatly helped us grow and sustain this growth.
"Besides our local supporters, we also have many customers who visit our shop from all over the country."