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Unfiltered: Grant Ashton

The founder of 67 Pall Mall talks to Douglas Blyde about wine monographs featuring David Bowie and Queen, launching a wine-focused TV channel, and the new Clubs in Singapore and Verbier…

What is your vintage?

Fittingly, my birth year is 1967. Born and bred in London. We’ve been fortunate enough to welcome some superb ‘67s into the Club. One of the first events we did in 2015 was a ‘67 Barolo comparison, featuring a collection of ‘67s to celebrate our new address: Accomasso, Burlotto, Cappellano, Giuseppe Rinaldi, Giacomo Conterno, Bartolo Mascarello, Aldo Canale and Giovanni Canale. Cheval Blanc en-magnum was not bad for 10 minutes (then it died…) Yquem and Penfolds Bin 95, meanwhile, were superb.

What bottle sparked your love of wine?

Figeac 1982 was a defining moment. I picked this from a list in The Arches, Fairhazel Gardens, North London in the early 2000s.

Is your family proud of what you’ve achieved?

I’m not sure they have a clue what I do.

What did you say to the doubters?

Never listen to the doubters! We had an ambitious opening target in terms of the list and our offering. The feedback from Members and friends once we opened our doors was overwhelming. Luckily, with a full membership and shareholder base, we had far more supporters than doubters.

Who has been your professional mentor?

As an ex-trader who moved into hospitality, there wasn’t just the one.

Describe your wine list at 67 Pall Mall?

Loaded with critics’ scores on iPads, the list is wide, eclectic and covers all regions, as well as price points. Our list changes hourly as Members drink it and our cellar team adds to it.

What is your most seductive pour available via Coravin?

Vouvray Le Haut Lieu Moelleux Premiere Trie, Domaine Huet, 1947.

How many wine references do you have in total, and are all the bottles stored on site?

Nearly 5,000 on the list, with 1,006 by the glass and counting… And yes, our bottles are stored on site in the Club’s cellars.

What has been a standout, potentially quirky, wine-themed event at 67?

Our resident musician, sommelier and wine buyer, Nelson Pari teamed up with Richard Bampfield MW to deliver two sold-out music and wine monographs featuring David Bowie and Queen.

Which table is the best in the house?

  1. The table next to the Clubroom Bar, overlooking St James’s Palace

How did the Singapore opening come about?

I was sat in a hotel bar in San Sebastian with a Member who mentioned that Singapore would be a sensible location, over a glass of Vega Sicilia. He introduced me to a site and subsequently the landlord of the Penthouse of Shaw Centre. Having been open for just over a month, we are now operating a waiting list.

And Verbier?

Similarly, Verbier came to be through one of our first Members. He very much liked our operation and our wine offering, and his existing Club in Verbier needed refreshing…

Will elements of Switzerland and Asia percolate back to the London Club? 

Absolutely – an Asian-themed restaurant is in the works for the London Club on the second floor, and our Swiss wine collection across all properties is vast. We like our Members to know they’re in 67 Pall Mall, whichever Club they are in.

Do members of Singapore need to wear jackets?

No they don’t, but highly recommended in Verbier…

Why did you start a TV channel?

As per all other hospitality venues, we had to close for most of 2020. We wanted to continue to offer value to our Members during this period, as well as support the wine industry, keep our staff employed and subsequently drive our digital expansion. What started as Zoom tastings developed into a 24/7 online TV channel, populated with original 67 Pall Mall-produced content.

Who is the most famous person you’ve ever looked after during your career?

Sam Neill, well, Nigel Neill of Two Paddocks who was introduced to me by Nigel Greening of Felton Road. “The Two Nigels” remains one of my most memorable events at the Club.

Where do you dine on your days off, if days off in your world exist?

At home, which is the other place where I keep my wine…

What is your motto?

Go big or go home.

What grape or style don’t you get along with?


If not a wine Club entrepreneur, then what would you do?

I’d still be trading credit bonds like I used to.

How does your team handle a particularly drunken member?

Gently but firmly…

Tell us something surprising about yourself?

My family are all very musical and I’m not.

Can a bottle of wine change the world?

No – it’s there to take the edge off.

And finally, what do you look for in potential hires?

Personality conquers all. And good Excel skills.

67 Pall Mall, St. James’s, London, SW1Y 5ES; 020 3000 6767;

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No