We are still a ridiculously small team here at 266, consisting of founder Ben and his two business partners plus our amazing back office help. We purposefully avoid dogma in terms of wine style, instead looking for bottles that we feel are authentic expressions of the place and people that create them. For us place is important, but no more so than the influence of those that work so hard to create something genuine and exciting.
Who is Ben?
266 is headed up by Ben Slater who founded the company after 12 years working in wine, starting at a large specialist retailer before progressing through the independent sector in retail as well as import and distribution. It is here that he began to carve out a niche spotting and importing exciting and somewhat risky wines from Champagne, the West Coast of the USA and Northern Spain in particular. Ben’s experience in retail has led to us having a broad range rather than being limited to one or two specific regions but we like to think it is characterised by producers who like to push the qualitative boundaries and expectations of their respective areas. Our business is incredibly young and grew out of Ben’s work with his previous employer, meaning that our portfolio is evolving constantly from what we inherited. It is a source of great pleasure for us to watch it grow and morph in to a coherent whole.
Great Quality Wine
Ultimately, we want to sell great quality wine and have come to think that this depends to a large extent on good farming. ‘Good farming’ to us means attending to the health of soils in which vines are grown, allowing them to root deep and draw up complex nutrients which facilitate healthy plants and foster flavoursome, healthy grapes. These soils do not exist in vineyards which are routinely sprayed with synthetic herbicide, fungicide, fertilizer, and have been heavily tilled. Finally, we feel that it is our job to show passion for the suppliers that we believe in but just as importantly, to show respect for the needs of the clients we serve through personalized, attentive service with the flexibility to go the extra mile that a small company can offer.