After what has been a challenging year, it’s only right and proper that when we raise a toast to friends, family and the hopefully more joyous 2021, we do so with a quality wine chosen with the help of a local merchant with many years’ experience.
Rodney Hogg, who is Oundle-based Amps Wine Merchants’ independent wine representative, offers a vast knowledge of good wine, available to order online, and is always ready to offer advice to individuals and the hospitality sector on the wide selection of wines of character, style and value available.
A former member of the Parachute Regiment, Rodney is well known for his inspirational presentation, entitled ‘From The Jungles Of Borneo To The Vineyards Of Bordeaux’, which charts his military service and his struggles to fit back into civilian life. Many of those talks have been given in aid of Help For Heroes and the SSAFA, armed forces charities that support wounded ex-servicemen and women; and Rodney’s determination to make life better for others is now in great demand as the business sector, and in particular, the hospitality industry, faces its own fight to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and its lockdowns and social distancing rules.
“As we approach Christmas and New Year and hopefully the end of this pandemic, I want to offer as much help as I can to wine bars, restaurants and hotels that have been so badly hit by what has happened this year,” said Rodney. “We have all been affected, of course, but there are still ways to help and all wines can be ordered online, so I’m hoping that hospitality businesses will be able to find some very special, new wines to offer to their customers when they are ready to welcome them back again. We can help establishments choose the wines, write their wine lists and organise staff training, if required.”
The selection of wines includes festive favourites, which can be found in the Christmas brochure, which is available from Rodney and which has already attracted a great deal of attention. In addition, businesses looking for gifts for clients will find that the government has relaxed the gift-giving laws this year so that VAT can be reclaimed on bottles given to customers or colleagues.
“I’ve always been keen to help people when they face tough times,” said Rodney. “After seeing active service in Cyprus, Jordan, Borneo, Brunei and Bahrain and other middle East countries, I ended up having to be evacuated to the Woolwich Military Hospital. After leaving hospital I was put in charge of a Head Quarters Mess in Aldershot before being discharged from the Army in 1969. I didn’t particularly enjoy my time there, but I put what I had learned about hospitality to good use, managing licensed premises, a country club and hotel, and then I began selling wine for a French company and a London city wine company.
“Coaching from the military hospital padre had helped me settle into civilian life after the military, and I know only too well how difficult that transition can be. I came through it due to the support I received and I know how important that is. It’s about your spirit and mind, you must see the future and not be afraid, and knowing what that was like was the qualification I needed to start doing my presentations which, I hope, went some way to raising money that would make sure other people got the help they needed.”
Adapting to civilian life led Rodney into the wine business, resulting in him setting up three wine businesses of his own, before semi-retirement saw his skills transferring to Amps Wine Merchants, from where he still advises a broad range of customers as an independent representative, from the knowledgeable who are looking for something a little bit different, to the beginners who benefit from his years of experience.
“A lot of people enjoy wine but spend ages trying to choose the right one, not really knowing what they are getting, or else they stick to their favourites,” he explained. “Talking to a wine specialist takes a lot of guesswork out of the equation and helps you choose something that works with your foods, tastes and budget – as well as advice on how to store and serve them correctly.”
The selection includes a splendid array of wines from cellars around the world and customers can mix and match their own preferences. There are also helpful Christmas food wine pairing tips, from something light for the starters to a rich port for when the cheese comes out in the evening.
Delivery is free on all orders over £100, £5 locally and £7.50 nationally on orders under £100.
To find out more or to receive a brochure in the post, contact Rodney Hogg on 07850 791452 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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