An interview with Tarquin de Burgh of wine and spirit merchants Inverarity Morton.
Inverarity Vaults has been wine merchant to Winton House near Edinburgh for the last 4 years. The wine supplier’s clients include leading restaurants and hotels like the Kitchin, Castle Terrace, Gleneagles, Skibo Castle and Muirfield Golf Club. Inverarity was voted Restaurant Wine Supplier of the Year and is the only supplier in Scotland to offer free staff training to all their customers.
Tarquin de Burgh has been with the family business run by Hamish Martin since its inception in 1992. Turnover increased nearly 20 fold before the firm joined forces with Morton last year becoming Inverarity Morton and creating Scotland’s leading independent drinks firm.
“We only want to buy nice wines and sell them to nice people, backed by the best possible service,” Tarquin says.
Originally sourced from France, Inverarity’s wines now come from all over the world. All are carefully selected from family owned vineyards. Inverarity’s sales team play a big role in tasting and choosing the wines that they supply.
“We go on wine buying trips to Europe and South Africa, and we’re also sent a lot of unsolicited bottles to taste. The key to good wines is good selection.
“Wine tastes are generally slow to change. Three years ago Pinot Grigio was flying off the shelves and we’re now sliding into Sauvignon Blanc. People tend to take more of a risk with red wines. Average bottle prices are going up because people are buying fewer bottles of wine but are prepared to pay more for better quality.”
Current favourites with Winton House clients are: Prosecco Barocco Brut, ‘perfect for sunny afternoons’; Francesca Bay Sauvignon Blanc, ‘superb crunchy Granny Smith apple fruit with tropical notes’; Trentino-Alto Adige Pinot Grigio Tolloy, ‘an Italian gem’; Santa Ema Merlot, ‘a structured and refined palate’; and Les Ormes de Lagrange Bordeaux Superieur, ‘with ripe bramble, spice, cedar notes and a fine balanced finish’.
Tarquin de Burgh continues:
“Winton is beautiful and very special, partly because it’s also a family home. Winton’s pretty exclusive but not elitist. Visitors have a lot of fun.
“Every Winton client has their own special event. The key to its success is not being formulaic.”
Kerry McCabe, general manager at Winton House, adds:
“Inverarity sell a good selection of wines and whiskies. Both Inverarity and Winton provide a bespoke service; their directors are very hands-on, as are our managers.
“If one of our clients is very interested in wine, Tarquin will set up a special wine tasting for them. Inverarity can also do food and wine matching, and ‘wine man’s bluff’ is a game which goes down well!
“You can’t fault their client service. I’d recently forgotten to place an order on a Bank Holiday Monday and Inverarity helped us out by delivering the Champagne at the last minute.”