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The Fine Wine Delivery Company had its modest beginning from our home on Auckland’s North Shore over 10-years ago. Armed with a clear vision and consumed with a passion to succeed I had no idea we would one day become New Zealand’s leading fine wine retailer. It was born over a luncheon in Ponsonby and formalised over a coffee on a boat moored at Westhaven in concert with close friend and founding shareholder Bryan Chitham who remains a shareholder today. Incorporated on 23 June 1997 our first official trading day was 1 August. I vividly remember hosting a tasting for around sixty willing friends of friends securing $5,000 worth of orders that night and feeling like we had just won lotto. The next day I was a one man band having to invoice the wine, manually process credit card payments, order in the wine, despatch it and do the banking, that’s how good business’s start. The next twelve months were exciting and crammed with innovation. We purchased tables, seats and a covered trailer and would transport them along to the warehouses of friendly suppliers and set up formal tastings presenting a range of wines to invited guests taking orders at the end of the evening. Virginia, Tracey, Bryan and various other family members all otherwise employed could always be counted on to assist me with the tastings from go to woe. We rarely got home before 11pm by the time we had packed down the furniture and cleaned the venue. We were living a dream. June 1998 Tracey Poole became my first employee and in July we took the plunge leasing ground floor space at the rear of old Angus House in 201 Hobson Street. Tracey and I repainted old office furniture and second hand shelving. The premises were basic, our customers were fuelled by our selection and passion, they were fun days. Later that year we bravely commissioned NZ’s first comprehensive/interactive wine web site Fine Wine Online which today goes by the name www.finewinedelivery.co.nz it has become the cornerstone of our business. Virginia joined us in 1999 and William became the first non-family team member later that year. April 2000 Rose joined us in an admin role and we also appointed an Internet specific person. We seconded Richard Poole from the ranks of Montana Wines later in 2000 to fill broad range sales and wine procurement role. July 1998 through June of 2000 we gradually took over the total ground floor space at 201 Hobson Street as other tenants moved on. Late in 2001 we expanded to take over all three floors of Hobson Street courageously (some might say outrageously) commissioning Fine Wine Cellar Storage, a state of the art temperature/humidity controlled wine storage facility with 54 individual cellar rooms rented to private clients. The Honorable John Banks QSO officiated at the wonderful opening evening. Early 2002 a developer purchased the vacant lot alongside and less than a year later in June of 2003 our car park was lost. We quickly reached agreement on our current Cook Street site by May 2003, extensive redevelopment of commenced in June and we opened the doors for business on 1 November. I could write a book about the challenges our team faced throughout our taxing relocation process. John Banks again officiated at the Cook Street opening ceremony and while it was a memorable night I hope we don’t require John’s services again in this capacity for many years. Our store at 50 Cook Street should serve us well beyond my reign as Managing Director and I intend to be at the helm for many more years yet. There’s an awful lot of unfinished business. The Fine Wine Delivery Company has become the tour de force in New Zealand premium wine retailing, her shores know no boundaries thanks in the main to my lovely wife Virginia and darling children Tracey and Richard. But for the prompting, belief and unstinting support of my family and a few close friends my dream may still be just that. Finally heartfelt thanks to everyone who has ever shopped with us and in particular those of you, who have stuck by us and sung our praise to many of your family, friends and associates, plus a huge thank you to our core group of loyal suppliers who have numerously invested their faith and goodwill in our family wine business. Enjoy your shopping experience on www.finewinedelivery.co.nz and if you wish to put names to faces drop into 50 Cook Street in Auckland and experience our passion for wine. – Description from AlexJelena

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