Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

vintner, late Middle English word for wine merchant which superseded vinter. Mainly because of England’s links with bordeaux, vintners were some of the most important people in the City of London in the 14th and early 15th centuries (four mayors of London were vintners in Edward II’s reign). The Vintners’ Company evolved from the ‘Mistery of Vintners’, a group of London and Gascon merchants who enjoyed a practical monopoly on London’s important wine trade with Gascony from at least 1364. It was formally incorporated in 1437, and was recognized by Henry VIII as one of the ‘12 great’ livery companies. It is still based at Vintners’ Hall by the Thames in London, in a section of the City known as Vintry ward, where for centuries wine would be unloaded from ship for sale throughout southern England. Independently of UK licensing restrictions, the Vintners’ Company may grant Free Vintner status to members, allowing them to sell wine under certain conditions. Both the wset and the Institute of masters of wine are the result of initiatives of the Vintners’ Company.