A WORCESTER wine merchant has spoken of his pride in his city after scooping a BAFTA-style gong.

Richard Everton was knocked for six when Bottles Wine Bar & Merchants won the Central England Wine Merchant of the Year in the International Wine Challenge UK Merchant Awards at The Oval last night (Wednesday).

As well as running Bottles, a wine bar on New Street, Mr Everton has a warehouse near Hallow and plans to open a city centre shop near New Street so winning in the company of big hitters such as Waitrose, Laithwaites, Wine Society and Majestic was perfectly timed.

“It is a great accolade,” said Mr Everton.

“It is the wine trade’s equivalent of the BAFTAs and our regional area is huge so I am so pleased to have won.

“This will make a significant difference and maybe remind people who don’t know about us or see us as wine business, more a bar, that we are steeped in the trade and have been for four generations. That is really important to us.

“I think it also says to everyone in the trade and beyond that we are serious players. We ship from all over the world, mainly from independent wine makers and we carry a lot of stock.

“We invest a lot of time, energy and effort, it is about the whole team and that recognition is important.

“I launched Bottles intent on taking away some of the image of pretentiousness and pomposity of the wine trade, we did it to break it down and make people realise wine is a go-to drink for so many people these days and there is no right or wrong.

“What you like is what you should drink but if we can introduce our customers to things that are slightly different that we like and we think they might like in a hands-on, straightforward manner, it is a great thing.

“With all the problems and the city centre struggling as it is, to actually put the city on the map shows you don’t have to be in the big cities to get recognition.

“With social media and the new wine events, the logistics of supply, you can operate from Worcester and cover the whole of the country. That’s what we do.”