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Le Vigne gives you the lowdown on a wide range of wines & spirits
IT'S a far cry from working in airport operations in Singapore Airlines or as a DBS Securities analyst or even in security protection in Indonesia and Pakistan, but avid wine and spirits aficionado Lewis Mitchell took the plunge in 2002 and co-founded Le Vigne with his wife Patricia Britton.
The wine and spirits company, however, is more than your run-of- the-mill distributor. Aside from having a large selection of new and old- world wines for local distribution to outlets which include restaurants, hotels, country clubs, supermarkets and specialty wine shops, Le Vigne's unique offerings also include single cask and rare whiskies, artisanal gin, aged grappa and aged agricole rum.
The company, which has seven staff and one shop which doubles as a showroom, also ships wines to distributors in Malaysia, India and Indonesia in addition to organising wine and whisky tastings and talks, consulting on wine and food pairings, and conducting training for the F&B industry.
It is also one of the sponsors of the Business Times Corporate Golf League.
Says Mr Mitchell, 57: "What's unique about Le Vigne is that every member of the company is trained to be open-minded and avoid bias based on price, origin, presentation, packaging, ratings or style. We'd like to think that we are able to identify a good alcoholic beverage by relying on our own palates rather than being prompted by marketing or external influences."
He adds: "What drives me with the business is our staff. We now have a good, honest, perhaps quirky, bunch of people. We really appreciate them, as it wasn't always the case. When we had a team of prima donna salesmen who thought they were the dream team, it spoilt the mood of coming to work."
Acknowledging that business is competitive in Singapore and Le Vigne may not have the promotional funds compared to some of the bigger distributor names, Mr Mitchell - who holds a General Certificate in Distilling from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (UK) - nonetheless has obviously found his calling.
He says: "We are not impressive in the area of revenue or market share, but we do pride ourselves as being very knowledgeable in our trade and simply being honest - sometimes perhaps being too direct. We treat all our suppliers and their delivery staff with the same respect as we do our clients."
- Le Vigne is located at 72 Namly Place