Imbibe Magazine July/August issue

In an article in Imbibe Magazine July/August issue, Henrietta Clancy talks to some of the country's top sommeliers to discover their favourite small wine merchants

In the course of polling sommeliers on their favourite small merchants the word ‘trust' came up over and over again. It's no exaggeration to say that these relationships seem almost marital in importance.

This is what they say about Vine Trail.....

Vine Trail

INFO: 266 Hotwell Road, Hotwells, Bristol, BS8 4NG; 0117 921 1770;;

HISTORY: Vine Trail is headed up by Nick Brookes, who was a full time accountant until his wine passion got the better of him in 1989. Despite being offered a promotion and a company car at a time when the country was in the depths of the last recession, he opted to travel around France for three months and start up his own wine outfit. Brookes' first catalogue of 38 wines has now grown to a selection of over 200, and he's since been joined by his wife Cath and five other members of staff.

BEST FOR: Vine Trail is a specialist importer of small domaine French wines and top growers' champagnes. The list features lots of organic or biodynamic viticulture.

USED BY: Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Corrigan's Mayfair and Chez Bruce.

SOMMELIERS SAY: ‘Nick Brookes has one of the best palates I know and lists a stunning selection of wines, specialising in growers' champagne. He and Robert Wheatcroft make a formidable duo.' Ronan Sayburn MS, Hotel du Vin