Esquire (UK)

PULL THE CORK!

ON A BOTTLE OF HOUSE WINE FROM SHOP CUVÉE

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Brodie Meah and Max Venning, two friends in their thirties with background­s in fine dining and cocktails, first opened Top Cuveé as a cosy North London restaurant in February 2019, but with the onset of the pandemic, in March 2020 they pivoted to being a natural wine delivery service and boujee grocer, rebranding as Shop Cuvée. An emergency plan intended to shift some spare wine via Instagram soon became a thriving new venture.

“When we first had to close last year, I remember thinking, ‘Fuck, we’re probably going out of business here,’” says Meah. “I thought that if we could at least sell off our wine stock, we’d be able to pay our wages. That was the only expectatio­n.”

Luckily for Meah, it took just two days for that expectatio­n to be surpassed — the amount of time needed for all of Shop Cuveé’s wine to sell out.

With a pithy social media presence that posts photogenic bottles of small batch “natty” wines and an easy-to-navigate website, Shop Cuvée now delivers UK-wide and offers a wine subscripti­on service. It’s also the nation’s fastest-growing natural wine supplier and was nominated for The Marketing Society’s Brave Brand of the Year Award. Business has been so good that last September the pair opened a new dedicated Shop Cuveé space and have recently launched a house red, “a real juicy Gamay,” with plans for white and orange varieties to follow and a grand reopening of the restaurant as soon as it’s permitted.

“I think what really captured people from the start,” says Meah, “is that we’re all about fun. When things were looking grim, our philosophy was just pure energy and positivity. We were really struggling financiall­y but we never wanted to say, ‘woe is us’. We’re hosts by nature. Let’s just have a laugh in the sun. Come and party with us! That was our thought process.” For Top (and Shop) Cuveé, it looks like the party is just getting started, and the bar is pretty well stocked.

 ??  ?? Shop Cuvée ‘House Wine’ (Gamay, 2019), above, £16/750ml; shopcuvee.com
Shop Cuvée ‘House Wine’ (Gamay, 2019), above, £16/750ml; shopcuvee.com

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