CHAMPAGNE Pol Roger, Brut Réserve, was poured at the official re-opening of Berry Bros & Rudd’s new-look warehouse shop in Basingstoke.

Doing the honours of cutting the ribbon was the newly-installed Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane, Councillor Roger Gardiner, who was clearly impressed with what he saw.

The warehouse shop, in Hamilton Close, Houndmills, closed in early May, and has since been transformed in a major revamp.

Cllr Gardiner, who was accompanied by his Mayoress wife Tricia, described the warehouse shop as fantastic.

“I think the work has been done very well,” said Cllr Gardiner, impressed with the broader wine selection on offer. There are more than 300 wines and spirits in stock, offered with up to 30 per cent discounts.

Noting the company boasts two Royal Warrants, with more than 300 years of history and eight Masters of Wine, Cllr Gardiner said: “Berry Bros & Rudd has such a good reputation that some people may not think it’s for them, but that’s not true – it’s for everybody – they cater for all tastes and pockets. I’d certainly recommend everybody to come and have a look.”

Cllr Gardiner clearly had a good rapport with Berry Bros & Rudd’s chairman Simon Berry, who was equally impressed with the new look warehouse shop.

Mr Berry said the space was originally a bottling hall before the area was converted to become the firm’s retail outlet in Basingstoke in 1995.

“That was when we had a bin end sale, which was supposed to have been a one-off, but we kept it going and then it grew,” explained Mr Berry.

Almost 20 years later, and as part of an ongoing rebranding project, the space has been redesigned by London architects Urban Salon.

“I love the look of it,” said Mr Berry, who added: “I love shopping here because you can browse in a way you can’t so much in our London store.”

The new bright intuitive layout has wine displayed in their original boxes, along with tasting tables, under an avenue of 52 enamel lights going along the length of the store. In addition, there is a fine wine room and a family room where people can relax.

As a nod back to the early beginnings of the warehouse shop, Martin Hudson MW, who is a wine education specialist, hosted a tasting table with a selection of wines from 1995.

Mr Berry said that visiting the warehouse shop should provide customers with a very different wine buying experience compared to going to a supermarket.

He said: “This is a chance to really find out what good fun it is to buy from people who actually know what they are selling.

“In order to buy well from a supermarket, you need to know a huge amount about wine, but in order to buy well from us you really don’t need to know anything.

“You can come down here and talk to the people who work here who are all very nice and knowledgeable.

“The excitement about wine is continuing to learn and enjoying something new. It’s not about buying very expensive wine – it’s about variety.”