The story of Yapp Brothers.
It’s hard to believe that half a century has passed since Robin Yapp (then a full-time dentist, now turned 80) ventured forth to befriend artisanal winemakers from the little-known Rhône & Loire valleys and began shipping their wines.
The following timeline identifies some key milestones on this adventure:
Over-enthusiastic ordering after a long lunch in France results in Robin taking delivery of a pallet of wine at the garage of his house just outside Mere, Wiltshire. He places a small advert in The Sunday Times offering case sales and a mailorder wine business in born.
1972 - 1973
Inaugural vintages from Vatan (Sancerre), Teiller (Menetou-Salon), Clape (Cornas) and Champet (Côte-Rôtie).
Stocks outgrow the garage at Hinckes Mill House and the company moves to its current site at The Old Brewery in Mere. Restaurants begin to contact Robin for wines, so a trade arm is established, leading to a programme of wine dinners that continues to this day.
1974 - 1979
The business grows.
Chave (Hermitage) and Jasmin (Côte-Rôtie) join the ranks.
Exploration of Provence uncovers Bunan (Bandol) and Sack (Cassis).
‘Vineyards and Vignerons’ by Robin & Judith Yapp is published, detailing the domaines with which the company works.
1993 - 2005
Ring the changes.
Jason Yapp joins his father in the business, having cut his teeth working for Oddbins, on the factory floor at Boudier liqueurs (Dijon) and after a stage in Bandol.
Expansion into the ‘Wild West’ results in shipments from Labasse (Jurançon), Espil (Irouléguy), and Campadieu / Cantie (Collioure).
A fully transactional website, stage.yapp.co.uk, is launched in 1998.
After a decade working in the City, in 2001 Tom Ashworth joins step-father, Robin, and step-brother, Jason, in the family business.
In 2004 Robin retired - Jason and Tom take charge.
A trio of Corsican producers (Torraccia, Pieretti & Saparale) arrive, along with considerable development of our Languedoc range (Picpoul, Pic St-Loup).
2015 - 2019
Into the future...
2015: Investment in the company from German wine entrepreneur, Carl Reh, leads to several agency acquisitions – Hofmann (Rheinhessen) and Von Kesselstat (Mosel). Iconic Languedoc domaine, La Grange des Pères, is also welcomed aboard along with Bodega Zearra from Rioja.
2019: Yapp Brothers turns 50, relaunches its website, and continues to add to its portfolio with estates from Corsica (Paradella), Germany (Meyer), while dipping a toe into South Africa (Napier and Migliarina).