Top 5 London wine merchants: The classics

Justerini & Brooks

A watercolour of Justerini & Brooks in St James’s Street

Founded: 1749
Locations: Headquarters at St James’s Street, London; Sales offices at Golden Square in London, Alva Street in Edinburgh and Central, Hong Kong.
Turnover: 2018 in £57.2m vs. £47.2m in 2017 (up 21%) NB: most recent accounts filed at companies house as of 10 May 2020

Established in 1749 by Giacomo Justerini, Justerini & Brooks has more than 270 years of experience under its belt and still operates from its historic Pall Mall location where it first began. J&B was awarded its first Royal Warrant by King George III in 1761, and has been granted the honour by every successive British monarch since, including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

It now includes an en primeur service, online shop and cellaring service, which operates under its Cellarers Wines Ltd business and also offers a broking platform. The company currently holds close to £200m worth of wine for its customers as part of its cellaring service. It also stocks the cellars of bars and restaurants across the UK, including Le Gavroche, The Fat Duck, Claridge’s and The Goring.

Its range features more than four thousand wines from across the world, with a strong focus on fine wines from Burgundy, Barolo and Germany, as well Bordeaux, the Rhône, the Loire and Champagne. A buying team of five is headed up by buying director Giles Burke-Gaffney, who under the guidance of former buying director and now chairman Hew Blair, worked his way up to the role having joined the company as a cellar hand in 1997.

Whisky is also a big part of its offering, with the company boasting access to 29 distilleries across Scotland, including Port Ellen and Brora, and a single cask programme for collectors. The merchant recently released a Brora 40-year-old to celebrate the 200th anniversary of a distillery, priced at £4,500 a bottle.

Speaking of the current Covid-19 pandemic, a spokesperson for J&B has said: “Some châteaux and estates have been beginning to close their operations on a temporary basis. However at this stage we do not foresee any material impact on our ability to continue to supply you with our portfolio of wine and spirits. Our warehouses in the UK and France currently each remain open to facilitate that service – though on a reduced schedule, and our delivery teams are taking all extra precautions to ensure both the safety of their staff and our customers. Including additional hygiene measures and implementing contactless deliveries.”

At time of press, the company was continuing to ship across the UK, Hong Kong and Singapore.

One Response to “Top 5 London wine merchants: The classics”

  1. John Edwards says:

    Lea and Sandeman seems a glaring omission?

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