We had a visit from Wine Merchant Magazine last week, interested in what we have been getting up to in our quiet corner of Britain since 2016. One of their questions was about what businesses first inspired me to start Iron & Rose and GlouGlou.

Truth is, there’s no single one that we wanted to be like. The “vision” was the cumulation of (mis?)adventure over years of travelling & exploration.

But here are four things that continue to inspire us.

1 - We are & always will be a “work in progress” but producers like Valli Unite, a producer in the Piedmont hills, who work in harmony with the environment to make wine, grow crops & rear animals, are the kind we want to support by bringing their wines to more people. Run as a cooperative farm, it was revolutionary when a few friends started it several decades ago & it still leads the way for many. Plus they have a great agrotourismo where you can eat, drink & sleep!

2- Grado 12 Enoteca is in Trento, northern Italy. With an amazing selection of Alto Adige & Süd Tirol wines & some well chosen bottles from the rest of Italy & beyond, a fantastic team who can help & advise, a relaxed & welcoming vibe, it’s the kind of place where you can just pick up something inexpensive for dinner that night or go to town with some exceptional bottles. Our kind of wine shop.

3- Venice. True, you can be ripped off & deeply disappointed here but if you venture into the quieter corners you can eat & drink fantastically. Cichèti & a glass of vino. Authentic Venetian cooking. Fantastic locally grown produce to prepare back at the flat. Late night gelato! The message? Get out of the mainstream to find the good stuff.

4- There are businesses outside the world of wine & food that inspire too. Daunt Books love of books seems to flow through the company, to draw you in, & encourage you to explore. I hope our love of wine shows like this.
Hiut Denim is a jeans company with purpose other than just selling more jeans. Theirs, to bring jeans making back to Cardigan while making as small an impact on the environment as possible.
Ours, to support wine growers who work in an environmentally sensitive & truly sustainable way, & make naturally delicious wines.