Buying director Giles Burke-Gaffney discusses the history of Justerini & Brooks, as well as their exciting plans for the future of the wine industry. Photographs by Richard Cannon.
There are no similarities between buying from London wine merchant Justerini & Brooks and a shop on the high street, declares buying director Giles Burke-Gaffney.
‘We offer a personal service, storing £200 million worth of wine for our clients, advising them on what to buy and when to drink it,’ he explains.
‘We also import wine, providing access to things our clients know they want and introducing them to things they know nothing about.’
The company’s history extends all the way back to 1749, when an Italian called Giacomo Justerini fell in love with a soprano and pursued her to Britain.
He established a company selling liquors on Pall Mall and its offices have remained close by ever since.
‘We are very proud of our history,’ acknowledges Mr Burke-Gaffney. ‘We supplied George III’s Coronation and his wedding in 1761, and have been official supplier to every reigning monarch since.’
Fashions in wine come and go, but Justerini & Brooks prides itself on taking its own course.
‘We push things we believe in and don’t necessarily follow trends,’ Mr Burke-Gaffney highlights. ‘Burgundy is the hottest thing right now, but we were one of the first people to offer it en primeur 30 years ago.’
‘At the time, people thought we were crazy and you couldn’t promote it for love nor money. We’re currently also getting excited about north-west Italy.’
Over the past five years, Mr Burke-Gaffney has tasted more than 30,000 wines and confides that it’s the thrill of the chase that gives him the biggest buzz.
‘My job involves a lot of travel to far-flung places. Even in well-established regions, such as Burgundy, there are little producers you can unearth. I love finding something new and special that no one else knows about.’
For more information about Justerini & Brooks and the wines they sell, visit www.justerinis.com.
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