Ann Hayes has worked in the wine trade for almost 40 years, beginning her career with John Townend and Sons of Hull in 1983 when she opened a new store in Brigg, Lincolnshire.
Ann takes great delight in personally choosing all of the wines that are for sale in her shop.
Modestly, she says that she does not consider herself a wine expert, but certainly knows more than the ‘man on the street’. She has a fabulous ‘wine memory’ and can still recall the taste of wines that she tried more than 20 years ago!
Ann combines a ‘commercial palate’ with good retail acumen and she’s able to understand exactly what customers want from a particular wine.
Ann will never baffle you with ‘wine speak’, she wants more people to come along and try her wines with help and advice.
She says: “Everyone’s palate is completely different and I don’t expect everyone to like the same wines. But I love being able to challenge people’s perceptions with my wine choices for them.”
After John Townend and Sons, Ann’s passion for wine next took her to Bottoms Up, then part of the Peter DOMINIC Group, firstly in Tunbridge Wells before moving to Newark on Trent in 1991. With her team, she relocated the business from Stodman Street to Bargate where she built up a loyal army of “Imbibers” and a leading position amongst the town’s retailers.
During her time with BU as it came to be known, Ann led the New Stores Development Team and opened several stores nationwide. As part of her own development and training, she visited a variety of wine-growing regions, particualrly enjoying Champagne and Rioja. Indeed, Spanish wines feature prominently in the predominantly European offer at Ann et Vin.
Changes within what had now become the Thresher Group meant that Ann found Bottoms Up a less interesting and rewarding place so the idea of Ann et Vin was born – essentially to provide exceptional wines at affordable prices, supported by knowledgable, unstuffy service and assistance.
The search began for the ideal premises to service the customer Ann knew existed in and around the town.Within 8 weeks, the former Brooks Garage was transformed from a derelict shed to the wine emporium we know today, a wonderful range was tasted – such hard work! – and trading commenced on 5th November, 2004.
The rest, as they say, is history.