Richard Hales and Roger Barlow founded Gerrard Seel over 30 years ago in July 1984, initially working from Roger’s mother’s kitchen as an office and Richard’s grandmother’s garage as a warehouse. When desks arrived in the kitchen after about two months, they were served with an eviction notice and had to get a “real” office and warehouse! From then the company has grown year by year, and what at first was a minute enterprise is now a multi-million pound wine merchant, respected throughout the UK and still with several of its original clients.
Although the size of the company has changed, its philosophy hasn’t. Gerrard Seel looks to source wines of great quality that epitomise their origins and that always over-deliver in terms of value. This doesn’t mean that everything is expensive, simply that the quality is always far higher than the price might suggest.
Most of Gerrard Seel's wines are sourced from small estates run by talented, artisanal producers where attention to detail is second nature and the thought of cutting corners to shave off the odd penny from the price is totally alien. These are people who do not hanker after their next new sports car, but rather the pleasure and satisfaction of sharing of a bottle of their wine with like-minded and appreciative people.
Roger and Richard learned their trade in Burgundy, and it was there that the preponderance of small estates taught them that buying directly from the producer is the most reliable source of the finest wines. From then on this was how they sourced wines, searching out people who took great care in growing their grapes. These are not people
who encourage vast yields from each vine, instead ensuring that the quality of each bunch of grapes is first class as wines are not manufactured, they are born in the vineyard. If you don’t start with great grapes, you can’t make great wine.
The winemaker should then have to intervene as little as possible in the vinification process to ensure that their wines represent the very essence of their vineyards. As the recipients of the wisdom of their terroir, handed down from one generation to the next, they can combine this knowledge with an understanding of the latest winemaking techniques to properly honour their heritage and their region.
Gerrard Seel might not offer the cheapest wines on the market, but the value for money is obvious in each and every bottle. When you pull the cork or crack the screwcap you can rest assured that your wine is everything you expect it to be and more. With over 650 wines in its portfolio, Gerrard Seel is small enough to care and large enough to buy well. The people we deal with share our philosophy that wines should be of the highest possible quality and typical of both their area and their grape varieties while still maintaining excellent value for money.
Oh, and the business name comes from the maiden names of Richard and Roger's mothers – Barbara Gerrard and Jessie Seel.