Based in Notting Hill, with an office in Hong Kong, Armit Wines has a reputation as one of the UK’s leading contemporary wine merchants, recognised for the quality of its portfolio with a number of exclusive agencies in the UK.
When John Armit founded the company in 1988, he was not afraid to break the mould and his role in transforming how the wine industry operated was pivotal. He pioneered the practice of buying directly from producers and building long standing relationships, some of them now being over 25 years old.
The company’s wine list still reflects these relationships and is considered to be one of the strongest in the trade for the diversity of its Italian portfolio which includes, amongst many, the exclusive agencies of Ornellaia, Tenuta San Guido (Sassicaia), Gaja, Giacosa, Querciabella, Tua Rita, Giacomo Fenocchio, Agricola Punica, Romano Dal Forno, Fattorial Le Pupille, Masseria Li Veli, Tiefenbrunner and Castello di Buttrio. In addition to this, Armit is also recognised as a Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne specialist, representing established icons of the fine wine world such as Château Lafleur, Château Grand Village, Domaine Leflaive and Leflaive & Associés, Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux and Domaine de Montille, as well as ranking as one of the biggest importers of First Growths in the UK.
John’s passion for building close relationships with the world’s best winemakers is still at the heart of the Armit business, and the portfolio continues to grow with exciting additions from around the world. In recent years, Armit has become the exclusive agent for Spain’s La Rioja Alta S.A, started working with a range of grower Champagnes such as Pierre Gimmonet & Fils and Geoffroy, Domaine Huet from the Loire Valley, Biancavigna Prosecco and Digby Fine English. The business has also built a strong and interesting range of wines from California, including; Hanzell and Diamond Creek, and continued to grow the New World section of the list with top quality producers such as Astrolabe, Borthwick and Stonecroft from New Zealand, Delaire Graff and Mulderbosch from South Africa, Tintonegro from Argentina, Matetic from Chile and The Hobo Wine Company, Dowie Doole and Tahbilk from Australia.
Today, Armit wines continues to embody John’s original philosophy; a company with an enviable portfolio, yet the antithesis of the traditional style of wine merchant. Passion, knowledge and service to proudly continue to represent a global roll call of wines with personality.
1962 - John Armit graduated from Oxford and took his first job at Corney and Barrow, where he spent many hours sticking on wine labels.
1969 – John became Managing Director of the company and focused on building close relationships with producers by visiting them regularly, a revolutionary approach for the wine trade at the time.
1978 – John was given the exclusive agency for Château Pétrus following the development of a strong relationship with Jean Pierre Moueix, a Bordeaux legend, who had previously given him same rights to Château Trotanoy, La Fleur Pétrus, Latour à Pomerol and Magdelaine.
1981 – John left Corney and Barrow and started up John Armit Wine Investment Ltd managing wine portfolios for a maximum of 100 clients, dealing only in top quality claret, much of it sold En Primeur.
1988 - John Armit Wines Ltd was established with the purpose of providing to clients the services of a complete wine merchant, but one with a strongly contemporary feel.
2005 - The business rebranded to Armit Wines to recognise the fact that it had become more than one man, and had grown into the leading contemporary wine merchant in the UK.
2008 – A second office was opened in Hong Kong in order to take the reputation of Armit Wines and its winning portfolio to international markets.
2008 - Baarsma Wine Group Holding (BWGH), a Netherlands based specialist multi-channel wine distributor, took a 75% stake in Armit Wines with the balance being held by Armit Wines management team.
2010 - John stepped down from his role as Chairman once the transition to BWGH was complete.
2011 – John formally retired as a Director allowing the team that he had built over the years to take the business forward.