Merchant goes back to its roots

Cockburns of Leith offers personal service to top end of market

WINE Importers has relaunched Cockburns of Leith in a bid to take the wine merchant back to its roots.
Eighteen months after it bought Cockburns out of administration, Wine Importers aims to re-establish the business, which was founded in 1796, in a way that “recalls its former glory as Scotland’s oldest premium wine merchant”.
The new strategy will see Cockburns offer a bespoke domestic personal wine merchant service catering for the top end of the market.
Clients will range from those who require genuine help in choosing top wines, either for investment or immediate consumption, and country houses, which require wine for sporting estates or for laying down.
Cockburns’ wine list is being presented in a document wallet reminiscent of an era when Cockburns of Leith customers included Sir Walter Scott and Charles Dickens.
Managing director Billy Bell told SLTN there is a need for a bespoke upmarket wine merchant north of the border.
“This private client base is in the main serviced by English-owned merchants, the majority of which have nothing like the heritage of Cockburns,” he said.
“We, on the other hand, can provide an extremely responsive service through our own transport, supported by a large stockholding of fine wine right here on their doorstep.
“We want there to be a tactile feel to the business.
“There will be nothing terribly modern about it; it will be very much along the lines of how Cockburns was hundreds of years ago.
“We’re re-establishing it where it really should be.”