"This month is a very, very special month in our history as we’re celebrating 20 years of Reserve. What a wonderful journey it’s been!
Didsbury is where it all started, many moons ago. For those who don’t know, I’d had a really terrible experience in a local wine shop and remember coming away thinking how rubbish it had made me feel - and a little intimidated too.
I wanted to create a friendly and inspiring community around wine and to give customers a really good time. It was my husband Kenny who said: “Well why not open your own wine shop!” So… I did! I got the keys to the shop, walked in and thought, “there’s no turning back now”!
With the help of my amazing friends and family, we finally opened in early November 2003 which was the start of the most incredible, exciting adventure of my life.
Fast forward to today, I couldn't be more proud of where we are, with a fresh new look, we've expanded to 4 more locations since we opened our doors back in 2003. You can now find us at Bents Home & Garden, Altrincham Market, Mackie Mayor & Picturedrome! Join us all month as I look back on some very special memories and say thank you to you all.
As we look back on the past 20 years, we spoke to the people who work to make Reserve Wines what it is, and asked them to reflect on what Reserve Wines means to them.
James Hands - Former Manger of Reserve Wines Didsbury
“Kate gave me my first taste of working for an Independent Wine Merchant following my years at Oddbins. What I got was the freedom to explore the world of wine with a wider gaze, and take up a new world of endless opportunity!
The wine trade is an ever moving and exciting place to work. It mixes new trends, balanced with learning from what has been laid out before, both in terms of wine and the way that you should work within the trade; don’t ignore the past, take inspiration from it and always keep your eyes open for the next exciting project. You will never stop learning in the trade, which is one of the reasons I love it so much. This is an ethos I work with to this today, with thanks to Kate.”
Chris McDowall - Former Manager at Reserve at Bents & Reserve Wines Buyer
"I loved the six years I got to spend at Reserve Wines. It was a joy to be part of setting up the Bents site and later the central office, seeing the company grow, and building my own wine and business knowledge, learning a lot from Kate along the way. Even when facing a challenging day I couldn't have asked for a better team to be a part of.
When I decided to leave Reserve, Kate was so supportive of me starting my own business, and it really helped me believe that I could do it. I'm not out of business yet, so I must have learned something!
Congratulations on 20 years of success, and I'm excited to hear about where Reserve goes in the next 20."
Jason Lee Sheldon - Former Manager Mackie Mayor
"I am incredibly grateful for my five-year stint with Reserve Wines. It was a formative period of my career where I had the privilege of meeting exceptional individuals, it was my first substantial step into the world of wine as a full time career. This experience marked a significant departure from the previous in property law, a change I will forever cherish.
Under Kate's guidance, I felt a genuine sense of support and unity, akin to a close-knit family. The confidence instilled in me by Reserve has empowered me to pursue a, so far, fulfilling career in wine education, which continues to take me across the country and has even landed me opportunities that I could never have imagined (like judging at an international sake challenge event).
I humbly recognise that without Reserve Wines' gentle push towards the end of my tenure there, my life would not have unfolded in such a meaningful direction, so I will be forever grateful for that. My heartfelt thanks extend to Reserve Wines as a company, Reserve Wines as a family, but with the most special gratitude reserved for Kate, whose leadership and positive energy profoundly shaped me as a person."
Oliver Fletcher - Former Assistant Manager at Mackie Mayor
"Working for Reserve opened up the world of wine for me, giving me so many opportunities to taste wine from all over, and it's from there that I developed the endless thirst for knowledge and discovery that has led me to where I am now."
Henry Alassane - Former Assistant Manager at Didsbury.
“Working for Reserve Wines was undoubtedly a remarkable experience that left a lasting impression on both my personal and professional life. It was my second venture into the wine industry since moving to Manchester, and it proved to be an enriching and fulfilling journey.
It enriched my wine knowledge, introduced me to lifelong friends and instilled in me a deeper appreciation for the wine industry.
Kate and Reserve Wines will always hold a special place in my heart and I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunities and experiences that it brought to me.
Kate and the RW family”
Amber Ryan - Former wine advisor across several shops.
"I started with Reserve when I first moved to Manchester in 2018. From the moment I stepped into each of sites (Alty, Mackie, Didsbury) I could see how each of the teams displayed so much passion for wine and enjoyment for working for the company. I felt very lucky whilst I was working at Reserve, for the access I had to knowledge and feel like it was the very start of my wine career. Since Reserve, I have continued working within the wine industry including retail and now working in a hotel bar, where we promote Rare and Vintage wines. I believe without my time at Reserve none of this would have been possible, thank you for everything Kate!"
Bryn Stephens - Alliance Wine
"I remember my first day out on the road when I started with Alliance Wine. I was frankly terrified. And of course Reserve being my largest customer it was there I had to start. In I walked, and the first thing I remember was Kates beaming smile. After about 20 seconds I was at ease, and I couldn’t have asked for a nicer first customer!
Its been a turbulent three and a half years since in the wine trade, but Kate, and the whole team at Reserve have always been on the ball, proactive, energetic, understanding, but above all happy (certainly from my view anyways :P) and it seems this all is fostered from the top.
Kate you have been brilliantly kind to me. Here’s to many more years between Reserve and Alliance!"
Margaret Hope - Chateau Musar
"What to say about Kate?....Lovely inside and out. Good human being. Great businesswoman. Glad she is my mate!
Simon Hore - Thorman Hunt
"It’s hard to believe it’s 20 years!
In those days there weren’t so many independent merchants in the north
And opening a wine shop was still a “brave” thing. I remember tastings at the Rugby club and introducing classics like Bonny Doon, Frog’s Leap, ABC, Ridge and Lustau to punters in the north for the first time.
And having a natter about cricket!"
Sarah Mauritzen - Boutinot
"We paraglided over the Cape, planted Grenache vine at Wilderberg, blended wine with Waterkloof, ate in Cape Towns finest restaurants and wore or wellies when in the vineyards to avoid the puffer adders biting us!!
Congratulations Kate on a wonderful 20 years in business and thank you for championing women in business!
You are a special lady x "
Charlotte Bannon - Head of People and Customer Experience
"Applying for the Manager position at Market House was the best career decision I have made. I am so proud to have worked for Kate for the last 9 years and am extremely grateful for the support and opportunities I have been given. - Kate, you are an awesome boss and the business you have created is impressively progressive and innovative. Cheers to the next 20 years. Much love, Charlotte xx"
Michael Stanton - Commercial Manager
"I’ve been at reserve for just over 4 years now and since my first interview with Charlotte back at Market House in August 2019 I’ve been made to feel so welcome. Things didn’t quite go as expected not long after I started thanks to a certain global pandemic but the opportunities I’ve been given by Kate and the team to get involved in shaping and growing the company over the last few years has been amazing. Thank you so much Kate for the support so far and I’m excited to be involved as we keep growing!"
Garry Lui - Manager Didsbury
"I remember meeting Kate (and Nic) for the first time, almost seven years ago when I interviewed for a part time wine advisor role at Didsbury. I was sat on a fold-away wooden chair in a windowless rectangular office where the shelves were full of paperwork and there was one random dusty bottle of sambuca. Despite what could have been a tense and very nervous moment for me, none of it was off putting in the slightest because something just felt right.
Fast forward to today, and it’s incredibly astounding to see the Didsbury shop in its current form. To have been part of that transformation and to have experienced the changes and overall growth of Reserve Wines over the last seven years, let alone 20, has been an absolute privilege. Thinking about it fills me with a great sense of pride and the utmost respect for Kate. And do you know what the most amazing thing (for me) is? It still feels right. And that’s because the fundamental values of the Reserve Wines that Kate founded back in 2003, right up to present times, have remained very much core to the business, which I find truly inspiring and is a testament to Kate’s directive.
Thank you for everything. Cheers to many more years of success and continued growth together xx
Emily Casson - Manager Mackie Mayor
"Reserve wines very much starter out as a uni job that seemed like a bit of fun along with my studies. But I very much found my passion, being surrounded by people who love what they do, the company they work for, and the products they sell, every day is inspiring. 20 years of creating that atmosphere and fostering people’s passion is a massive achievement and I’m very proud to be part of it. Happy 20 years and hopefully a whole bunch more."