Business of the week: Highbury Vintners, the UK’s ‘best wine retailer’

PUBLISHED: 13:44 06 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:22 08 September 2017

Sean Sweeney, director of Highbury Vintners, took over the shop in 2002. Picture: supplied by Highbury Vinters

Sean Sweeney, director of Highbury Vintners, took over the shop in 2002. Picture: supplied by Highbury Vinters


In a weekly feature, we profile a fascinating company doing business here in Islington. This week, we visit Highbury Vintners, which has gone from off-licence to award-winning wine merchant.

Sean Sweeney is so passionate about wine that he makes all his staff take an advanced course on the subject.

It’s no wonder Highbury Vintners, in Highbury Park, won the best independent wine retailer prize at this year’s Drinks Retailing Awards.

And it’s not just about wine: “We have 1,500 different wines and also 400 craft beers,” Sean said. “And we do a lot of tasting events on Friday evenings.

“My father had the shop before me, since 1981. It was mainly an off-licence in those days. But when I took over in 2002, I turned it into a wine merchant.

“I feel blessed to be in this part of Highbury. It has so many good independent shops, like the cheese shop (La Fromagerie) and butchers (Godfreys). It means people shop local.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s getting harder with so much competition from Tesco and Sainsbury stores, but this is a really good place to be.”

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