If you live in the north of England, then you’ll know about Booths. If you live elsewhere, you’ll wish you had one nearby. Fondly termed the ‘Waitrose of the North’, it is a small chain of 28 stores with a focus on quality.
The offering, under buyer Victoria Anderson, is one of the best in the UK – proven by the fact it won Supermarket of the Year at the 2022 Decanter Retailer Awards. It also won in 2020 and came runner up in 2019.
Booths places an emphasis on sustainability, as well introducing its customers to emerging trends. ‘We’re a family business,’ says Anderson, ‘[so] we particularly like to hunt for little gems from up-and-coming producers and family growers.’
The home-grown range of English still and sparkling wines is commendable, and there are great discoveries for adventurous wine lovers from Armenia and Bulgaria. Renowned producers are well represented, including Scala Dei, Penfolds, Trinity Hill and Sesti, while the 44-strong own-label EH Booth range offers value for money at all price levels.
This year (2022) marks 175 years since Edwin Henry Booth first set up his own wine and spirits business in Blackpool in 1847. He borrowed £80 of stock from his previous employer and, in just three months, thanks to his business nous, had not only paid the debt back but made a £50 profit.
Booths still honours his pledge to ‘sell the best goods available, in attractive stores, staffed with first-class assistants’.
To celebrate the anniversary, one of the new releases is an own-label 2016 vintage Port (£25/37.5cl) – perfect for Christmas.
Best Booths wines: 25 top autumn and winter buys
All wines tasted 22 September 2022. Prices do not reflect any special or multi-buy offers. Some wines might only be available either online or in selected stores. All bottle prices are correct at time of publication. Wines grouped by style and ordered by score, in descending order.