I’m sorry to have to report that one of my favourite merchants, Artisan Wines, has been forced to cease trading.
Other demands on the time of proprietor Andrew Kerr has forced Andrew into making the difficult decision to close down the operation. In Andrew’s words “We’ve come to the conclusion that we need to put Artisan Wines on the back burner for a year or two as, at the moment, we don’t have enough time to devote to it.” Perhaps the troubled economy has also played its part; despite recent good news about the average spend per bottle going up in the UK (more people than ever are spending over £10 per bottle it seems) maintaining sales of esoteric natural, organic and biodynamic wines in an online-only part-time operation must be a very trying occupation.
This is a great shame; although Andrew ran this online retail business in his spare time, sourcing and importing the wines himself, it was a professional operation and it was a valuable source of wines from some of the Loire’s greatest names, not least Clos Rougeard, Domaine de Bellivière, Ferme de la Sansonnière, Domaine de l’Ecu and others, as well as a selection of wines of similar quality from the Rhône. Although naturally, for me, it was the Loire that was the major interest here.
Now that Andrew has taken his website down (www.artisanwines.co.uk now returns a ‘disabled’ message) sadly I fear this is the last we will see of Artisan Wines. Nevertheless I sincerely hope Andrew does indeed return to retail, for purely selfish reasons (a reliable source of Clos Rougeard can be hard to find!) and if I have any news on sale of stock, or an Artisan revival, naturally I will post it here.