Long celebrated St James’s Street stalwart, Justerini & Brooks embodies the values of a quintessentially British wine merchant, but on a global stage.
Established in 1749, engaging the world’s greatest wine collectors is nothing new for this 270-year-old institution. The company was awarded its first Royal Warrant by King George III in 1761, and with offices in London, Edinburgh and Hong Kong, it has been dealing with fine-wine collectors and drinkers around the globe since its first overseas shipment to India in 1858.
However, what distinguishes Justerini & Brooks from its peers is not its past, but the company’s continual willingness to adapt and embrace the future. This can be seen most noticeably in how the company seeks out fresh winemaking talent from up-and-coming regions, complementing its vast offering of old-world wines with exciting new producers such as Domaine du Pélican from the Jura, Raúl Pérez from Bierzo in Spain and Kühling-Gillot from Rheinhessen in Germany.
Justerini & Brooks also leads the way when it comes to promoting sustainability within the wine world. It actively supports beacons of sustainable wine-making such as Felton Road in New Zealand and Château de Meursault – soon to be the largest certified organic estate in the Côte d’Or. Its J&B Care for the Rare programme set up in 1992 raises funds and awareness for global conservation projects and charities such as Tusk Trust. The company also pioneers the little but important things: delivering wine in hybrid vans and sending out tasting samples in small, eco-friendly 50ml and 100ml bottles.
This progressive approach has helped Justerini & Brooks adapt and thrive even in the strange, challenging world of 2020. The company’s website has long been a portal to its library of over 4,000 rare wines and spirits. But with travel put on hold, everything – from seminars with multiple winemakers to private whisky tastings – was quickly moved online as well. Wine producers have been surprisingly adept at joining the online throng, and the buying team at Justerini & Brooks has welcomed some of the wine world’s most exceptional talent – with hundreds of customers enjoying live online tasting sessions with growers including Katharina Prüm from Mosel and Dominique Lafon from Meursault.
The company is primed to tackle all the logistical hurdles and political unknowns of 2021. Years of regular visits to the winemakers have built deep and meaningful bonds, many of which span generations, with Justerini & Brooks representing a treasured bridge to both British restaurants and global collectors. This means that the company’s close, ever-strengthening relationship with its growers will remain one of the most cherished pillars of the company’s business, whatever the challenges of 2021.
So, as for what’s next? More of the same it seems: 2020 has seen Justerini & Brooks stand by its long-standing growing partners through a turbulent year, while bringing several high-profile new signings to market. A clear sign of the company’s belief in valuing the past – while welcoming the future with open arms.