On Easter Saturday we will be celebrating our 20th year under current management, making the shop 56 years a wine merchant. Some of our older customers will remember the shop back then, freshly painted a burgundy colour in the summer of 1963, the new sign above the door “Peatling & Cawdron Wine Merchants”, later re-branded “Thomas Peatling Fine Wines” (though everyone just carried on calling the shop Peatling`s, as I recall). Owned by local brewery Greene King, it was managed by husband and wife team Brian and Maudi Hardwick. Brian had been a good friend of my father; and having expressed an interest in learning about wine as a young man I am guessing my old man persuaded him to take me on as an apprentice. I still have a photo of the old team outside the shop in 1980 with me, as I looked then, thin as a stick with Rod Stewart-like sticky-up hair (all the fashion back then, obviously). Brian and Maudi finally retired when I bought the premises and business in April 1999. In 2005 I married Janet who had been Operations Director at Colchester`s Williams and Griffin department store. Unlike me she really did have an idea or two about fashion, and it wasn`t long before we annexed “The Wine Centre” with what we have called “The Gift Room”, selling women`s fashion, handbags and jewellery. The deli came about after a trip to New Zealand, having been inspired by the wine-deli retailers there. It involved a major refurbishment at the time, but happily the investment turned out to be a good one. It was the food element, together with wine, which led to our hamper business, and ultimately to our events which have become the cornerstone of our business. Our “table of 18” wine-tasting dinners have proven especially popular with locals. Now here we are in 2019. I can hardly believe it has been twenty years! Which brings me back to our 20th birthday celebration: Lifting a glass to our fantastic customers with thanks for supporting us over the years (Sat 20th, mid-day-2pm).