Marking 15 years since the family-run wine merchant was established, Matthew Tindal of Tindal Wines recalls the company’s journey so far and what the future holds
28 November 2019 | 0
The nature of wine consumption is that one is encouraged to have a little knowledge, just a little bit, so as to enhance your own experience and that of those around you.
One such group is family-owned wine merchant Tindal, which began life exactly 15 years ago as an unlikely idea that took hold, spread its wings and is now a thriving international business. As co-founder Matthew Tindal puts it, it was like stepping into a merry-go-round that is still spinning a decade and a half later. Matthew set up the company with his uncle Anthony, and other members of the family entered the fray in subsequent years.
“It was probably around two years between the first suggestion and our company actually coming to life,” Matthew says. “But for a long time we didn’t expect it would be a reality; there was just so much we didn’t know about running a business.”
But where quality is provided in one area, the other will catch up, and in the 15 years since it was established, Tindal has evolved into a modest but thriving wine empire with multiple arms that aim to serve customers and clients in the wine space in whatever they need.
“Firstly,” says Matthew, “one of the things we do is we import our wine directly from the vineyards. We tend not to visit wine fairs. Instead we travel to meet the producers directly, to meet the families.
“We’re a family business ourselves,” he continues, “so we try to do deals with family businesses and create long-term relationships.”
Also at the forefront of Tindal Wines is Anthony Tindal, Matthew’s uncle and co-founder, and a very well-known and respected figure in Ireland’s wine industry. “Unfortunately for me,” Matt quips, “Anthony has gotten to do most of the travelling over the years!”
Sometime after first establishing the company, Anthony’s two children Harriet and William joined the business and have become key members, the latter as sales director and Harriet as assistant buyer/cellar advisor.
“Harriet just got her Master of Wine qualification,” Matthew Tindal says proudly of his cousin. “It took five years of study on the history and culture of wine as well as the business of it; there are less than 400 people in the world who have done it, it’s really incredible.”
While Anthony and Matthew Tindal lead the business, Harriet runs another arm of the company, Tankersly Wine Merchants, which trades in fines wines for investment. “Harriet deals with very high-end wines,” Matt says, “brokering them for investment in places like the UK and the Far East.”
A thriving multi-faceted wine business, Tindal also operates the respected Searsons wine shop in Dublin’s Monkstown, and acquired an assortment of other brands and producers over the years.
Even still, the ethos that Tindal started with back in 2004 has always informed what the company does, which is sourcing and selling wine the family can stand over.
“Our focus has evolved over the years,” Matt says, “but Anthony has always been aware of what he wanted when he visited a vineyard. He wants to be sure everything is being done the right way; the grapes, the production process, the sustainability approach.
“Sometimes, we find ourselves paying higher prices for those wines,” he adds, “but it also means we’re confident it’s going to be of a high quality that we can stand over with our own customers.”
As for the future of the company, Matthew says that all depends on the future of the trade in Ireland. At the time of writing, Brexit is (as always) a quagmire of political manoeuvring and stalling, but one thing is certain, that the customs relationship between the UK and Ireland is set to change considerably. That is why Tindal has established another arm that will be dedicated to handling the customs arrangements of its own shipments, as well as from other wine merchants.
“In 2018 there was a total of around 1.8 million customs declarations done in Ireland,” he says, “and that’s predicted to jump to as high as 20 million.
“It’s an opportunity and a necessity,” says Tindal, “so we’re trying to innovate as well as future-proof ourselves.”